Kevin Smith |

Orlando, FL – Salvation Army disaster response teams from the Orlando and Sanford corps continue to provide support to first responders and families at The Pulse nightclub, providing food, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care.

“Yesterday was a day of transition as we worked with the local, state, and federal teams to ensure the safety of the personnel on the ground,” said Major Ted Morris, Salvation Army Orlando Area Commander.  “With the heat index reaching into triple digits yesterday, people need to stay hydrated.  Heat exhaustion is a serious concern.”

Providing food and drinks is a core service of The Salvation Army, and while food service will continue, the more critical need is hydration.  In addition to its mobile canteens, The Salvation Army has also mobilized three Polaris utility task vehicles (UTVs) to more effectively distribute water and sports drinks to responder personnel throughout the secure area.   With streets blocked off to traffic, the Polaris UTVs have allowed teams to get resources to responders more efficiently, ensuring the safety of more than three hundred local, state, and federal personnel.

Major Ted Morris and Mr. Kelvin Coachman, Salvation Army Director of Social Services, are also coordinating with other community organizations to support families at the City of Orlando ‘one-stop’ assistance center, located at Camping World stadium.  The Salvation Army has positioned a second disaster response team at the stadium to provide hydration and snacks to family members seeking information and assistance.

“In the central Florida community, we support needy families every day, and in the days to come, we need to focus on finding resources for all those coping with this tragedy,” said Major Morris.  “Comfort may come in the forms of either financial assistance or physical aid, like hydration and snacks, but we also know that many of these families need to know that we care deeply and we grieve with them in their loss.”

The Salvation Army urges organizations wishing to partner in helping families recover to contact us at 407-423-8581.  Individuals, outside of Orlando, who wish to contribute may call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text “Orlando” to 41444.

“Yesterday, we received a generous donation of Gatorade and snacks from our local Sam’s Club,”  said Gene Daniels, Director of Operations at The Salvation Army Area Command.  “We were able to get that Gatorade immediately to the responders on scene thanks to our Polaris units and volunteers on the ground.  This is why we are here, showing the support and appreciation that we all feel for their efforts.”

Please continue to pray for the Orlando community.

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