JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippians prepare to put their disaster response lessons to work as Hurricane Florence barrels towards the East Coast. The Salvation Army team received a final send off reminder to the first wave of folks heading towards the path of the storm.
“There will likely be a lot of devastation,” said Terry Lightheart who serves as the Emergency/Disaster Services Director for the Salvation Army Mississippi-Louisiana-Alabama Division.
These mobile feeding units will stage in areas outside the direct impact zones in North Carolina and be ready to roll in right after landfall. They’re planning on a 14 day deployment.
“At first you get a feeling of anxiety," explained volunteer Brenda Kates. "OK, wow, I’ve got to go to this danger zone, disaster zone, not knowing what we’re going to go and face but then we turn to the Lord and we think about OK, this is what we’re here for. We’re here to serve.”
The Red Cross teams in Mississippi are also preparing and expect to send volunteers toward the east coast Wednesday. Meanwhile, those who work with the United Methodist Committee on Relief in Mississippi aren’t shipping folks out yet.
“We’re not early responders," said Jasmine Haynes, Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Communications Specialist. "We make sure that we let government, local authorities, those kind of agencies do their assessments before we come in and let them say, now we need volunteers. Here in Mississippi, we prepare for disaster year-round because it’s not an if, it’s a when.”
They say they’re committed to helping in the long term, just as they continue to do in Hattiesburg following last year’s tornado.
“As awful as it is, we like to see it as an opportunity to put our faith into action," Haynes said. "To be the hands and feet of Christ and to share love for our neighbor.”
The Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is reminding you that money is the best option for donations to reputable organizations. That money can then be applied to the items that are most needed in the impacted areas.