BRYAN, Texas — The Salvation Army of Bryan-College Station will be sending its canteen mobile feeding unit down to the coast today, all in an effort to help anyone affected by Tropical Storm Nicholas.
Dwayne Walters, a local volunteer of many years with the Salvation Army, prepared the food truck for its 132-mile journey to Freeport early Tuesday afternoon.
“First responders and survivors need coffee and hot chocolate!” Walters exclaimed as he shuffled through the truck's kitchen supplies.
Walters and a fellow volunteer coming in from Austin will spend several days in the canteen, helping out in coastal communities by sharing snacks and drinks, and preparing hot meals.
“We understand there’s some significant flooding," he said. "We understand that Tropical Storm Nicholas was a hurricane for a short period of time. Therefore, we anticipate some wind damage, power outages, things like that.”
The mission of this canteen is simple, yet multi-faceted. Walters and his peers with partnering charity organizations will acquire food supplies locally, which Walters will then cook in the truck and serve to storm victims and first responders. But the Salvation Army’s goal in responding to Nicholas goes beyond cooking food.
“People can get a hot meal and keep going with good nutrition, as well as us providing our spiritual and emotional support," said Walters.
Even the canteen’s mascot, a plush armadillo toy in a cowboy hat, who rides along on the dashboard, has a role to play in storm relief.
“It’s a communication tool that we use with the children to engage them," commented Walters with a smile. "Because they’re often frightened and not sure who these strangers are who are showing up to help.”
The mobile unit will be able to supply up to 2,000 daily meals to those in need, for as many days as they are requested.
On the home front, co-executive director Cpt. Timothy Israel shared that the Salvation Army of Bryan-College Station will be doing its part to help victims of Nicholas who are seeking refuge in Aggieland.
“We’re providing food boxes and hotel vouchers, and clothing assistance for evacuees that may have evacuated the affected area," Israel announced. "So if someone has evacuated from there and has found themselves here locally, they can come by our location at 2506 Cavitt Ave. in Bryan, and receive those services.”
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