Va., Md. Wings Helping N.C. Distribute Supplies to Florence Victims
Capt. Jacob Bixler
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Hundreds of Civil Air Patrol members from three wings are making an impact this week on the lives of thousands of families visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Points of Distribution (PODs) for vital supplies in North Carolina.
The CAP-trained POD teams are distributing MREs (meals ready to eat) and bottled water, in addition to other emergency supplies like ice and tarps, in storm-stricken communities in the Tar Heel State.
About 80 members of the North Carolina Wing, including cadets as young as 15, are working at the POD sites this week. They have been joined by 120 CAP members from the Virginia Wing and another 30 from the Maryland Wing.
The CAP teams are staffing four distribution sites – three in the Wilmington area and the other in Deep Run. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic is being routed, with the assistance of the North Carolina National Guard, in an assembly-line structure as cadets hand out a case of water and MREs to each family visiting the site. Pallets are off-loaded from tractor-trailers and set up as the supplies are quickly distributed to the community.
Over the first two days, 5,974 cases of water, 6,105 cases of MREs and 1,700 tarps were distributed. On Wednesday. the Maryland Wing members provided supplies to people in 905 vehicles, delivering 10,860 MREs and 28,960 bottles of water. The day before, 10,200 MREs and 20,400 bottles of water were distributed to people in 841 vehicles.
“These are very impressive numbers,” said Col. Joe Winter, commander of the Maryland Wing. “I look at it as that’s nearly 1,800 families that have food and water because Maryland Wing members answered the call to help.”
The Virginia Wing members come from across their state – including almost all city centers, such as Blacksburg, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Hampton Roads, Hanover, Leesburg, Lynchburg, Manassas, Newport News, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach and Winchester.Six teams left Virginia on Sunday for North Carolina, two more departed on Wednesday and eight more are en route today. Members are remaining in the area for five days to support the mission.
CAP, acting as the Air Force Auxiliary, is supporting Air Forces Northern during Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations following the landfall of Hurricane Florence on the East Coast. AFNORTH's primary role is to support U.S. Northern Command's efforts to provide assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Florence relief efforts.