Capt. Chas Engel, of the city Salvation Army, helped in Philadelphia from Sunday night to Saturday night after Superstorm Sandy swept through the area.
Before the storm arrived, an incident command team was assembled in case it was necessary. With more than 900,000 meals served by the Salvation Army throughout 11 states hit by the storm, the need was there.
"We didn't get hit hard here," Engel said.
Because of that, he was sent to Philadelphia, where nine shelters were open.
The American Red Cross sets up and oversees shelters in disasters and the Salvation Army feeds the people, Engel said.
Locally, the Salvation Army was prepared to distribute food to the shelter at New Covenant United Church of Christ, but since no one used it, it was not necessary.
While Engel was in Philadelphia, he started daily at 7 a.m. to find out what meals needed to be sent to the various shelters. The Salvation Army in Philadelphia has a kitchen, which was heavily used at the time.
Last Tuesday, the kitchen prepared 1,600 meals - 800 lunches and 800 dinners.
He oversaw the food being ordered, cooked, picked up and taken to shelters. He then would call other branches of the Salvation Army to see how busy they were.
By the time everything was done it would be around 8 or 9 p.m. and he would get ready to "just do it again."
Last Tuesday was the busiest day for Engel, following the previous night's heavy rainfall.
Elsewhere in the eastern part of the state, others suffered. About 15,000 houses were without power in the Lehigh area as of Saturday. In East Stroudsburg, branches of the Salvation Army still are feeding people.
Engel was called because, of the three people trained for logistics, he was the only one available.
He only served in Philadelphia for a week, while a normal deployment is about two weeks. He still could be sent elsewhere to help others in need.
While volunteers continue to help, others have been helping by donating.
"It gets really expensive (to help those in need)," Engel said.
Some people have donated to the Williamsport branch of the Salvation Army, which Engel said goes right back into helping with disasters. Since it is not needed in the area, it will go to where it is needed.
When money is donated to Lycoming County and is needed there, it stays.
"Disaster money is only for disasters," Engel stressed, saying the donations are never delegated to something else. "It isn't just that we send out canteens or clean up kits, we (also) send out a pastoral team to see how (people are) doing."
While many people associate the Salvation Army with feeding people during diaster relief, it also provides spiritual comfort to those who want to share the stories of their experiences.
To help, Engel suggests donating financially because when people donate items, money must be spent to ship the donations. When money is donated, it easily can be sent to where it is needed most and items can be bought there.
Donors can give online at SalvationArmyUSA.org or by calling 800-725-2769. Donors also can text the word "STORM" to 80888 to make a $10 donation through a cellphone. To confirm, respond with the word "Yes" when prompted.
To volunteer, register at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. Disaster training is a prerequisite for volunteering in a disaster zone and not all registered volunteers will be called to serve.