Elmwood, LA (WVUE) - Boxes labeled, “Disaster Relief Pack” are stacked high and ready to head out to potential victims of Florence at Second Harvest Food Bank located just outside the city of New Orleans.
“Because we know that seniors tend to impacted by disaster, making sure that we have products like Ensure available for seniors, so that they can continue to get the nutrients they need,” said Melanie McGuire, Chief Impact Officer for Second Harvest Food Bank.
At Second Harvest, preps for hurricane season begin far in advance.
"We actually have designated boxes that we have ready to go at any given time during a disaster. These are non-perishable food items, these are snacks, these are protein for families, so we have those types of things on hand," McGuire said of their readiness to help other communities.
The immediate threat is the mega-storm Florence which has millions on the east coast of the U.S. on edge.
“We also have a state-of-the-art kitchen that we can produce means, so we really just stand in conjunction with our neighboring food banks, and really whatever needs that come up we have a really strong grass roots network where we talk constantly to find out what are the needs and how we can assist those needs,” said McGuire.
Given what hurricane Katrina did to this area locals are always ready to lend a hand elsewhere -- including Entergy.
"So today we had about 200 employees from across the state of Louisiana head towards the Carolina coast to help with anticipated restoration efforts because of Hurricane Florence," said Entergy Louisiana spokeswoman Lee Sabatini.
Entergy Louisiana is no stranger to power outages due to storms and says help comes this way when it is necessary.
“Providing assistance to other states is part of a mutual assistance agreement. We are there for each other in time of need, especially when it comes to restoring power quickly and safely for our customers,” Sabatini said.
And utilities are well aware that when they send crews to far away communities they could be gone for weeks at a time.
"That's very possible, it depends on the extent of the damage, but safety is the number one priority for our crews, for our customers and for the crews of the other utilities, as well," said Sabatini.
Because disaster could strike at any point, the crew at Second Harvest stays prepared even outside hurricane season.
“We have year-round volunteers, we are constantly sourcing things like cleaning supplies, mops and buckets and snack items for that immediate need,” said McGuire.