The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross are preparing to help needy local people ride out the winter storm, but locations for shelters or feeding sites can't be determined until the scope of the storm and road conditions are known.
The Salvation Army's mobile kitchen is equipped with a generator that can power it, as well as a small building, said Jeff Lara, the local Salvation Army's director of operations and programs. It uses teams of three to four people to cook and serve hot meals for needy residents.
But the mobile kitchen is simply a box truck with rear-wheel drive and no tire chains, so it will only be able to set up in places it can reach, Lara said. Snow routes have typically been plowed well enough for it to get to needed areas in the past, so officials will wait to see which areas need help and respond as needed.
“Usually how it works is we can set up and do one meal in one place, then move to another place for the next meal,” Lara said. “But we can stay in one place if that's what's needed.”
The mobile kitchen often deploys to shelters or other locations where needy families have already gathered, he said.
The Red Cross is urging those who can do so to shelter in place and stock their own homes with enough warm clothes, blankets, food and water to not have to leave if power goes out or they become stranded, chief operations officer Christina Adcox said. But the Red Cross already has pre-staged supplies throughout the state and put trained volunteers and shelter locations on standby.