Early Saturday morning, Salvation Army emergency disaster vehicles took water, fresh fruit, snacks and spaghetti dinners into Mexico to serve 500 of those hardest hit by Easter Sundayâ€™s 7.2 earthquake.
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The El Centro Salvation Army has been helping people in El Centro, Calexico, Nyland, Slab City and Bombay, California, but had to wait for a formal request from The Salvation Army in Mexico to begin serving there. That request came on Friday, was quickly approved, and The Salvation Army immediately mobilized a 16â€™ truck, mobile kitchen (canteen), van and pickup truck which they filled with water, non-perishable food, clothing, diapers and other donated items. Before dawn on Saturday morning, volunteers made spaghetti sauce and pasta to serve from the mobile kitchen.
â€œLed by Mexican police escorts, we travelled two and a half hours into Baja California, Mexico, around buckled roads, through washes and down dirt paths to an area where we found 500 people gathered on a concrete slab waiting for assistance,â€ reported Captain Jerry Esqueda who led the trip. â€œWe fed them a hot spaghetti dinner with bread and apples, prayed with them and encouraged them.â€
Captain Esqueda said the 500 lined up quietly for the hot meal, respecting one another and passing bottles of water to the back of the line as they waited. He said some of the people cried and all expressed gratitude. After the meal, The Salvation Army distributed enough emergency food to last four more days: canned beef stew, powdered milk, water, Corn Flakes, bread and pasta. The remaining food was taken to The Salvation Army Corps Community Center in Mexicali. All in all, Captain Esqueda says The Salvation Army supplied food for 6,000 meals.
This past week in Imperial Valley, The Salvation Army has distributed 5,250 bottles of water, 2,892 cold drinks, 2,460 snacks and sheltered 65 people at the El Centro Corps Community Center (for two nights) as well as providing 244 hot meals and 65 sandwiches at that center.