JC Salvation Army sends team to help Irma victims.

Hannah Swayze • Sep 10, 2017 at 11:09 PM

All eyes are on hurricane Irma as the storm plows along the west coast of Florida just weeks after hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, causing massive damage and excessive flooding.

Shelters are opening across the South and campgrounds are opening evacuees driving North to escape the storm.

Here in Johnson City, the Salvation Army has set out to do its part.

On Saturday, Michael Cox, co-officer of the Salvation Army in Johnson City, loaded up the local "canteen" truck with Johnson City employees Danny Williams, Lomer Starks and Laura Springer. Also traveling with them is Joseph May, an officer from the Salvation Army in Kingsport.

Their exact destination is unknown.

They will first head to Chattanooga, a staging area where they will join 12 other groups from Tennessee and Kentucky. They will remain there until Irma passes, and then will receive word from Atlanta on where they will head next.

Currently, the team is prepared with supplies to serve 750 meals. The group's goal is to serve 1,500 meals a day, which is the number of meals the truck is equipped to serve.

But the Salvation's Army's goal isn't to serve food, but to provide emotional and spiritual care.

"Every disaster is different, but the biggest thing is just being ready to listen, being ready to just give a shoulder, being ready to lend a hand. The biggest thing is just helping people to understand that it's OK, you made it through and we will continue to make it through. We will be just fine, but it will have its challenges," Cox said.

Cox also stresses that although the team has left, donations are still needed. During times of disaster, 100 percent of donations to the Salvation Army will go to designated impacted areas. To donate, Cox says to either text STORM to 51555 or call 188-SAL-ARMY or go online to salvationarmy.org.

"We know that some of the focus is still on Harvey and we want the focus to still be there as well as expanding our attention to hurricane Irma, because now we're talking two different regions so it's even more important that people realize the ways of donating. Right now, the biggest need is monetary, so that way the focus can be on what the needs are at that moment and at that place," said Cox.

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