Emergency Disaster Services

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Our volunteers are prepared to respond at a moment’s notice to a disaster. Led by Randy O’Dell, our Emergency Disaster Services canteen in Williamson County is the only completely volunteer managed and staffed canteen (mobile kitchen) in the State of Texas. Would you like to join our volunteer team? Once you complete the application (link below), someone from our local staff will follow up with you shortly.

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If you would like to help those impacted by Disaster, and you aren’t available to volunteer, the best way to help is to make a financial contribution. Cash donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors without incurring many of the costs associated with sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods. Salvation Army disaster services are funded entirely by donors, and The Salvation Army uses 100% of all disaster donations in support of disaster relief operations.

Learn more about The Salvation Army Disaster Relief Services around the country.

Our local disaster efforts are part of the nationwide Emergency Disaster Services of The Salvation Army. Our volunteers may serve locally, or may even be called out to a state-wide or national disaster.

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Our canteens have provided practical assistance for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the Wimberley floods, Onion Creek flooding, the Bastrop wildfires, the explosion in West, Texas, local plane crashes and hazmat spills and many other events. Our volunteers, mobile kitchens and catering trucks mobilize immediately to provide food and hydration to first responders and survivors. We provide long-term disaster recovery efforts as well.

A disaster can change someone’s life in a matter of seconds. When tornadoes, floods and other disasters strike, we provide critical services to make sure survivors have the support needed to rebuild their lives.

In the event of a disaster, we are your hub for updates on the most needed supplies and how you can help the survivors – by donating or training to volunteer. We train disaster volunteers year-round at locations throughout Texas.

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The Salvation Army is known for being the first service agency to arrive and the last to leave – our commitment is to help people through to the end. Once the dust settles, our staff and volunteers stay for weeks, months or even years until we’ve done all we can to help.

Get up to date news from the national Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services website, and find out how The Salvation Army EDS teams are involved in providing assistance across the country in times of disaster.

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Click the tabs below to reveal a description of each service we provide during disaster recovery:

Annual Report Disaster 2018

In response to Hurricane Harvey, The Salvation Army supported one of the largest disaster relief operations in its history.  All mobile feeding units – delivering three meals a day and essential supplies – from across the United States and Canada were deployed to serve in many of the hardest hit communities, including two units from Central Texas.

After months of fundraising, The Williamson County Emergency Disaster team purchased a new mobile feeding unity vehicle just weeks before Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

Annual Report Disaster 2018
Annual Report Disaster 2018

After its first deployment to Victoria in the wake of the storm, the vehicle was christened as “Rapid Response Unit (RRU): Harvey One”.  The Travis and Williamson County Emergency Disaster teams served more than 23,000 meals in addition to snacks and drinks across Texas: Victoria, Seadrift, Cuero, Port Lavaca, Port Aransas, Rockport, Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, Houston and La Grange.  Randy O’Dell, Williamson County Disaster Coordinator, explains bringing food to survivors in Port Aransas: “These people were waiting for hours to buy a burger at the local restaurant because there was so little being served on the islands.”  The two units were deployed for a total of six weeks and drove 10,000+ miles to serve our Texas neighbors.

Our Disaster teams respond to national and local emergencies.  Special thanks to all of those who donated of their time in support of Hurricane Harvey relief.

Annual Report Disaster 2018
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Food Services

Our Texas fleet of 43 mobile kitchens, each with the capacity to provide 2,500 meals per day, are stocked and ready for deployment at a moments notice in times of disaster. They travel the streets to provide hot meals to survivors and relief workers. We also have a 54 ft Field Kitchen that can set up a meal station near busy work sites or in community locations where neighbors and volunteers gather for support.

Spiritual Ministry

Salvation Army staff and volunteers are available to pray with individuals in their time of need, and Salvation Army Officers can provide pastoral care. When someone feels hurt, upset or overwhelmed, they can turn to our staff and volunteers for support.


Our staff and volunteers are trained in emotional and spiritual care to provide counseling in the wake of disasters. We’ll lend an ear to listen, no matter what’s on your mind.

Identification / Registration

During a major disaster, time is of the essence in letting families know their loved ones are safe. We locate survivors and provide information to their family and friends through The Salvation Army Team Emergency Response Network (SATERN).


In major disasters, The Salvation Army will set up hubs that provide shelter, meals and counseling, often working closely with partner agencies. When the best option is a short-term hotel stay, we cover the bill.

Donated Goods

Each disaster is unique. We determine what the biggest needs are and seek out individuals and organizations who can provide these items to survivors. This includes food, water, toiletry items, clothes, cleaning supplies, blankets and much more. Because of this, monetary donations are the most effective and quickest way that you can support the emergency relief work.
If you want to donate goods, please take them to your nearest Salvation Army Family Store where they will be processed and sold and used to benefit Salvation Army clients.

Clean Up & Reconstruction

In major disasters,The Salvation Army can coordinate or assist with cleanup and reconstruction. We have an extensive database of volunteers to enlist for large projects like this.

Financial Assistance

We know it won’t undo what’s been lost – but we can offer financial help as a step toward a brighter future. The Salvation Army has short-term grants for medicine, groceries and other pressing needs. When the road back to normal is a bit longer, we partner with other agencies to give you long-term financial help. What we give, you never have to worry about repaying.

Volunteer Services

We recruit, train and deploy disaster volunteers, sometimes by the thousands. We also help coordinate community volunteers during large-scale efforts.


The Salvation Army works closely with other disaster relief organizations and government agencies to maximize our impact and avoid duplicating services. We are also active members of the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.