BOISE - We’ve seen the pictures and heard the stories about what’s happening down in Texas. Hundreds of thousands impacted by rain, flooding, and Hurricane Harvey. People from all across the United States are flocking to the Lone Star State to help in any way possible.
To give you an idea of just the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey: Just Monday alone, there were 3,400 water rescues reported. Harris County, which includes Houston, received 732 billion gallons of water, that’s enough to fill a million Olympic size swimming pools.
When everything is said and done, wind damage claims could reach as high as $6 billion. Flooding claims likely to be even higher. FEMA is also anticipating, at the very least, 450,000 Texans will need disaster assistance relief - that’s 11 times the number of people that can fit in Albertsons stadium.
The Salvation Army has dispatched nearly a hundred canteen units to help in some of those relief efforts.
“The Salvation Army so far I understand has served a bit over 6,000 meals and has deployed 72 Salvation Army canteen units to that area,” Maj. Bob Lloyd with the Salvation Army said.
Every one of those canteen units can serve 1,500 meals a day. Currently, none of those units are from Idaho, but they’re all on standby.
“We are on the inventory list and there is a possibility that we could be called and asked to participate,” Maj. Lloyd said.
If you are looking to participate, Maj. Lloyd says some ways are better than others. He says in Texas’ situation cash or check is a lot better than donated clothes.
“It's not logistically practical to be able to take trucks loads of material from Boise to an impacted area where they don't even necessarily have a facility to receive everything,” Maj. Lloyd said.
There also may be no facilities for food either.
“By the time you get there typically there is no place to stage the materials,” Maj. Lloyd said.
If you’re planning to volunteer down there, make sure you have a plan ahead of time.
“We have a lot of folks that want to volunteer, so they'll just show up on site, but they don't necessarily have the correct safety equipment, arrangements have not been made for their own lodging and accommodations. So a lot of times the people that just show up at these disaster sites wanting to be of assistance, they actually create a secondary impact on that environment,” Maj. Lloyd said.
He said the best way to help in this particular situation is through cash or check donations.
“Any checks that people send to us for Hurricane Harvey, as long as they write Hurricane Harvey on the check a 100 percent of that check will go to the impacted area,” Maj. Lloyd said.