South MS disaster response teams ready to deploy to hurricane zo - - The News for South Mississippi

South MS disaster response teams ready to deploy to hurricane zones


Several organizations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are mobilizing their staff and resources, ready to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Organizations like the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities: Diocese of Biloxi are on standby and can deploy, as soon as they receive that call for help. They have the experience and willing volunteers to respond to disasters.

At the Salvation Army warehouse in Biloxi Monday, volunteers checked their stock of relief supplies. Pallets of bottled water were waiting to be delivered. A couple hundred clean-up kits were wrapped and in position. The disaster response organization was preparing for possible deployment, as Hurricane Sandy churned toward the northeast.

"Depending on what emergency management offices tell us they need, we can provide fuel, heating fuel, warming clothes and supplies for families without power in the cold regions," said Major Terry Ray, Salvation Army Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Commander.

With expected power outages and major flooding, the Salvation Army can also send two canteens that can serve about 1,500 meals a day.

There are two teams of volunteers from Harrison and Jackson Counties who can run the canteens and provide counseling services. Ray said he would be heading that response team.

"I'm originally from the frozen tundra in the midwest, so I pretty much know that you would deal first, primarily with families being without power, trying to keep them warm," said Ray. "We have a lot of food, non-perishables, heat and eat type of things that folks could pop open and very easily prepare, as well as some clothing."

Catholic Charities: Diocese of Biloxi is also mobilizing its forces in case it gets the call.

"We can send trained staff who have been trained in disaster deployment. We've deployed to several states throughout the country. We can also send processes and protocol if need be, and always cash and gift cards," said Jennifer Williams, Director of Catholic Social and Community Services.

They will use the lessons learned from past hurricanes to help those in the path of this raging storm. 

"Not very often do we, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, get to go and help others, and that's a very important part. Our volunteers have been recipients of so much help that they love the opportunity to help someone else," said Ray.

"We received that help and it's good to be able to be a part of that to give back," said Williams.

The American Red Cross in Mississippi has already sent six Emergency Response Vehicles and 27 volunteers to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.  They can help with mass care, feeding, sheltering, and client cases.

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