JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Local organizations are sending crews and supplies to Southwest Florida to help victims of Hurricane Ian.
Local chapters of the Salvation Army and American Red Cross are on their way to areas in Florida that were hit the hardest from Hurricane Ian.
The Salvation Army is deploying eight teams from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. One unit is leaving out of Jackson on Thursday.
“The biggest thing we’re going to be doing is mass feeding. These events always have a lot of people without power, especially flooding incidents. Things like that are going to leave a lot of people displaced,” said William Trueblood, Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director the The Salvation Army.
The hope to provide up to 50,000 meals a day. Then, they hope to turn their efforts to helping people get back on their feet.
“There are always people who slip beneath the cracks who didn’t have the insurance they needed, who aren’t getting the support they need. That’s where organizations like the Salvation army are able to come in with funding,” said Trueblood.
The American Red Cross had crews in Florida before the Category 4 storm made landfall.
“They’re on the ground right now. We have a number of Mississippians who are on the way, too, who should be leaving today,” said Annette Rowland, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross of Mississippi.
Crews are helping to get hot meals and supplies to those in shelters.
“Right now, there are about 30,000 people in shelters in Florida. Making sure that people have a safe place to stay, that’s our priority. You’re also going to have people who are on the ground passing out emergency supplies. Those things like tarps for the roofing that may be missing shingles or have a hole in it,” she said.
Other crews will be assisting with damage and meeting with state and city officials.
Officials with both organizations said they’re prepare to help as long as they’re needed.
“It’s catastrophic. I’ve seen a lot of disasters. But I’ve got to say, the flooding and the level of the water that I saw this time was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It just breaks my heart and it makes me want to help as much as I can.”