Local Salvation Army, Red Cross volunteers prepare for Hurricane Ian

Western Mass News checked in on local organizations Wednesday as they prepared to help after Hurricane Ian.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 2:58 PM EDT
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(WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News checked in on local organizations Wednesday as they prepared to help after Hurricane Ian.

Multiple local organizations have plans to help residents who experienced the devastation that is expected with a storm this size. Efforts are underway here in western Massachusetts, getting ready to deploy volunteers to the Sunshine State if needed.

Hurricane Ian is expected to bring devastation as its storm surge hits the state of Florida.

Organizations like the Salvation Army know disasters like this one all too well.

“We have a large EDS, disaster services team, and resource center down there,” said Salvation Army’s Regional Director of Emergency and Disaster Services, Chris Farrand.

Salvation Army employees told Western Mass News that boots are already on the ground. They are waiting out the worst of the storm, preparing to help those who experienced tragedy during the storm.

“Currently we have 700 of our mobile feeding trucks that are being stationed,” Farrand told us. “We have one of our large field kitchens, which is essentially an 18-wheeler kitchen on wheels.”

They are also calling on western Mass. volunteers and staff who may be deployed down south in the upcoming weeks.

“In those early days of disaster, it is sometimes 20 hours a day nonstop of trying to meet people’s needs,” Farrand explained. “So, to be able to come and replenish those personnel, replenish those supplies.”

Meanwhile, other local organizations already have Massachusetts volunteers in Florida.

“The Red Cross of Massachusetts already has volunteers in Florida who are working on the Hurricane Ian relief efforts,” said Kelly Isenor with the Red Cross.

They have already set up shelters for those who had to evacuate, and cared for their physical and mental health needs, with 13,000 people staying there just Tuesday night.

“They need a place to go, they need a place to sleep, they need warm meals,” Isenor added.

Both organizations told us that the best way New Englanders can help is by donating cash to either organization instead of supplies.

“It can be challenging to receive them, store them, where to even put them,” Farrand told us.

We have checked in throughout the day with a Florida resident, who is a Southampton native. He is in charge of keeping more than 200 seniors safe, all as they just lost the roof to their building.