Florida’s First Lady, Casey DeSantis, Visits

Food Distribution Center

DeSantis Thanks Disaster Workers and Helps Load Food Canteens

VENICE, FL – Florida’s First Lady, Casey DeSantis, visited a food distribution site today in Venice to meet and thank Salvation Army disaster workers who are staffing some of the mobile feeding units deployed in south Sarasota County. She also visited with emergency workers from Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief, a disaster services partner who is preparing the meals being distributed by The Salvation Army’s mobile canteens.

DeSantis also had the opportunity to speak with Lieutenant Dushawn Dupree, who oversees the Venice service center of The Salvation Army. During her visit, the First Lady helped load several of The Salvation Army’s mobile canteens.

“The First Lady was very appreciative of the assistance being given by both The Salvation Army and Baptist kitchen disaster response teams,” Dupree said. “She also asked about how we are able to respond to disasters as quickly as we do.”

The Venice location is the fourth Salvation Army command center established in southwest Florida because of Hurricane Ian. It is providing disaster services in the Venice, Englewood, and North Port areas, which includes the feeding operations for eight mobile canteens.

“We’ve been providing hot lunches to people who have been without power or have been displaced by the hurricane since the first of the week,” said Captain Jason Smith, who is managing the Venice command team. “So far this week, we’ve distributed 16,000 meals, snacks, and beverages in Sarasota County. We are also adding a dinner service today, and may add more dinners in the future, based on degree of need.”

For information regarding where the canteens will be located, Smith encouraged people to visit the Sarasota County Salvation Army Facebook Page at facebook.com/SalvationArmySarasota each morning at 10 a.m.

Hurricane Ian has been devastating for millions of Floridians as the Category 4 hurricane came ashore in southwest Florida last week. Ian is estimated to have caused $60 billion in damage and left as many as four million people without electricity.