Local volunteers helping hurricane victims in Florida

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Local volunteers are headed to help in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane season.

Majs. Michael Thomas and Elmer Trapp of the Salvation Army's Cape Girardeau branch left Sept. 21 to assist with pastoral care and disaster relief efforts in Atmore, Ala., and Ardmore, Okla., and are currently serving in a canteen in Orlando, Fla., helping victims through the after effects of Hurricane Jeanne.

The Salvation Army's continued efforts include providing physical, emotional and spiritual comfort to residents and emergency response workers. The Hurricane Ivan effort alone served more than 200,000 meals to people along the Florida Panhandle and the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Thomas, who arrived in Orlando on Monday, said that "after the fourth storm, people are disgusted and frustrated. The neatest thing is witnessing people helping people. There are people from other states taking vacation time and driving down to work alongside us. It's touching."

Working in nine states, the Salvation Army has 80 emergency disaster services units, also known as canteens, serving storm survivors and emergency response workers. Canteens rove neighborhoods to provide aid to people still in their homes or returning from being evacuated.

Local residents Charles Pruitt, Marlin Allen and Dan Cummings recently left to provide assistance for the Tampa, Fla., canteen.

The Salvation Army's Team Emergency Radio Network is handling emergency communication from areas affected by Hurricane Ivan. It is responsible for health and welfare information inquiries during disasters. Individuals seeking information may register an inquiry online at www.satern.org.

The Salvation Army has also established a toll-free prayer and spiritual support hotline open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number is (888) 363-2769.

cpagano@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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