09/13/17 — A mission to offer relief

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A mission to offer relief

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 13, 2017 5:50 AM

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Lt. Phillip Stokes, left, and Dan Boyette prepare items to pack into the trailer that will be driven to Tampa, Florida. Three Wayne County residents will deploy for 14 days to assist.

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Wendy Boyette loads No. 10 cans of corn into a trailer as she and two others prepare for a 14-day deployment to Tampa, Florida. This is Boyette's first deployment because she was limited by her job; she retired in May.

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No. 10 cans, the size most used for food service, are the most welcome donations during a time of disaster.

Dan and Wendy Boyette know how it feels to be caught in a disaster and cut off from everything. That's why they are taking the local Salvation Army's canteen to Florida to help victims of Hurricane Irma.

The Salvation Army disaster team includes the Boyettes and Dennis Sims, the Salvation Army mission specialist. They left Tuesday morning to meet with other Salvation Army teams in Charleston, South Carolina. By the end of the day today, the Goldsboro team will be in Tampa, Florida, where it will stay for 14 days.

"The team is ready for primitive conditions," said Capt. Sherrie Stokes with the Salvation Army. "We know there are millions without power, so the team members could be sleeping in a building maybe on the floor or on a cot. They may not have water available to wash their clothes."

But that is not their main concern. Their mission is to prepare meals in the Salvation Army's canteen. They're prepared to serve 1,500 meals a day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks.

"Sometimes we try to keep breakfast simple but nutritional, like yogurt, fruits, muffins, things of that nature," Stokes said. "A few mornings they'll probably do eggs, sausage, biscuits to give them a good morning to get going."

The team is also taking hygiene kits and cleaning kits.

"The team will work anywhere between 14 and 16 hours a day," Stokes said. "If they have the opportunity, they will also serve as an emotion and spiritual care team. They will pray for the individuals and pray with them."

She said if the roadways are clear in Tampa, the team will take the canteen out into the neighborhoods to serve food and help anyway it can.

"But if the roadways are not cleared and there's a lot of flood, we will not send our people out," Stokes said. "We'll have a centralized location. And once the waters recede, we'll definitely take the canteen out in the community."

The canteen will also stop by shelters where people are staying to feed them.

In addition to the Salvation Army's canteen, the disaster team is also taking a trailer stocked full of extra supplies and a 2-ton truck to pull the trailer.

Boyette said she's gone out on small disasters, but never a big one like Hurricane Irma.

"I want to help people," she said. "They're in a place where they didn't ask to be. They're in a disaster. I just want to go down there, and I want to feed them, clothe them, talk to them, whatever I need to do to help them that's in trouble."

She said the team members don't know what to expect when they get to Tampa.

"We know there's going to be devastation," Boyette said. "This is a big hurricane that hit."

Sims will help prepare meals and just listen to the hurricane victims if they need to talk.

He said he doesn't fear for his own safety because he's doing God's work and trusts God to watch out for the team.

"I've been praying that the Lord grants us angels to camp around us and keep us safe not only while we're there, but also on the way down there," Sims said.

Stokes said that when the team members return home, not only are they going to be physically exhausted, but they'll also be mentally exhausted.

"Once they come back, they have seen so much devastation and heard a lot of horror stories, talked to a lot of people, and they just need time to settle down and debrief," she said.

When this team returns from Florida in two weeks, the local Salvation Army will send another team to that area.

So the organization will need more supplies.

Stokes said it can use donations of restaurant- size cans of vegetables, to-go plates with lids, cups, plastic wear, napkins, water, items like these.

Anyone who would like to make a donation may take it to the Salvation Army at 610 N. William St.

Monetary donations will also be taken.

"That helps us, too," Stokes said. "We may not have all the items we need right now, but when they get down there, a need might arise. We may notice that men need socks. So we can run out of town into the closest place and get socks.

"There may be a family with babies, and they may need diapers. We can run to the store and get those diapers or formula. So it's whatever the people need is what we use monetary donations for."

For more information on making donations to the Salvation Army, call 919-735-4811.