The Salvation Army responded to a request from Charlton County local emergency management authorities in Georgia to provide food and hydration to firefighters battling a fire spreading beyond the Okefenokee swamp and threatening residents of St. George and Folkston, Georgia. The West Mims fire has already burned more 140,000 acres in the area. More than 600 firefighters from across the country are now working to control the fire, which broke out in early April from a lightning strike.
A Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) from St. Marys, Georgia moved quickly to provide food and hydration to firefighters working around the clock fighting the fires. Local authorities estimate that this may be an extended disaster response due to the drought and wind conditions in the area. The Salvation Army was requested to provide meals for firefighters, and has currently provided 1,160 meals, 1,425 snacks, and 629 drinks.
The canteen from St. Marys, Georgia will continue its feeding and hydration operation and has establish schedules for prepping and serving food for the upcoming weeks. Over 50 volunteers from the St. Marys Service Center are prepared to help with the relief operations. St. Marys has partnered with the St. George Church of God, who offered their facility with a commercial kitchen and cooks, plus volunteer support. Local emergency management is coordinating delivery of food to responders as they take breaks to eat and return to the work of fighting the fires.
“This response may take a good while, so we really need volunteers who will be able to help for an extended time,” said St. Marys Service Director Charlene Sears. “We are preparing to help the firefighters for as long as they need us.”
To volunteer or donate needed items locally, Service Center Director Sears asks people to contact The Salvation Army of Camden County at 912-882-2200. Items most needed are shelf-stable foods, snacks, water, soft drinks, single packaged eye drops and lip balm.
How to Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors as the situation continues to be assessed.
- Donate Online: http://give.salvationarmyusa.org/site/Donation2?24638.donation=form1&df_id=24638&mfc_pref=T
- Donate By Mail: The Salvation Army PO BOX 930188 Norcross, GA 30003
Please designate ‘South Georgia Fires’ on all checks
- Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
According to Georgia Division Emergency Disaster Services Director, Lanita Lloyd, the wildfire situation in South Georgia changes daily and situational responses are continually being evaluated and updated. Lloyd summarized The Salvation Army’s response to the Mims Fires saying, “The Salvation Army is committed to provide aid and comfort to those affected by the wildfires as long as it is needed.”