Local organizations prepare to send help for Hurricane Harvey

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  - As Hurricane Harvey prepares to make landfall in Texas, organizations here in central Indiana are already sending help.

As of Friday afternoon Indiana Task Force 1, the Indiana chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Midwest Food Bank all said they’ve either already sent or were preparing to send resources to Texas or Louisiana.

“We are basically just in preparation in the event that we receive the call to respond,’” Indiana Task Force 1 public information officer Mike Pruitt said.

On Friday morning, seven members of the task force had already been deployed to Texas, including three for the FEMA incident support team, and four for Hazmat support.

“So now, we’re in a sit and wait mode to see what the storm is going to do; what they think it’s going to do, and if they need more resources, if Texas needs more resources, if Louisiana needs more resources, then we’re ready to roll out the door and help those folks,” Pruitt said.

If conditions are bad enough, Pruitt says it’s possible the task force may be asked to deploy all 84 of its members.

Across town, the Indiana chapter of the American Red Cross was also on standby Friday afternoon.

Readiness and Situational Awareness manager Britton Riley says the organization had already sent 10 of its members to Texas , but added that it’s possible that  they may have to send hundreds of Hoosier volunteers when all is said and done.

“Once we acknowledge what the greatest need is, where it’s located, then we move in the rest of the troops,” Riley said.

At the Midwest Food Bank, troops have already sprung into action. Executive director John Whitaker says they’ve never had a call for such a large response before a hurricane had even made landfall. Its that fact that he said likely means their services will be needed for weeks, or even months after Harvey hits

“So the preparation here for us is to gather the things necessary to make a proper response.  And so currently we have a truckload ready to go but we need to backfill for more,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker says each truckload of disaster relief costs the food bank around $13,000, so in order to meet demands for that extended period of relief he says the Midwest food bank says will need help from the public.

They’re asking for donations of  either money or food to help them meet that demand.

Whitaker says food items that can be of great help include:

  • Cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Canned meat
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Soups
  • Vegetables
  • Canned fruit
  • Ramen noodles
  • Pasta

Though he stresses that monetary donations can go further than food donations.

For more information on how to donate to the Midwest Food Bank and their Hurricane Harvey relief efforts you can visit, https://indianapolis.midwestfoodbank.org/contact-us.