In the week since torrential flooding struck Fort Gibson, Okla., members of American Legion Post 20 have served in excess of 15,000 meals to displaced citizens and first responders.
And the post’s first vice commander, Jim Quinn, said they anticipate those meals going on for quite some time.
“There’s going to be a need for quite awhile,” Quinn said Thursday.
Heavy rains have swollen the Arkansas River to its highest level ever, Quinn said, and the members of Post 20 have been working around the clock to feed their neighbors and give them some sort of shelter.
He said the food for the meals has been donated through the Legion, local churches, charitable foundations and individual citizens.
“We couldn’t have done it without the community,” Quinn said.
Once Highway 62 into town reopens, possibly this weekend or early next week, the community will start working on cleanup. Quinn said a local church has a disaster recovery team in town already.
“We’re stockpiling pallets of Gatorade and snack food, so we’ll not only be feeding here (at the post) until people can get back in their homes, but we’ll be running teams out to locations where people are working (so they have something to eat),” Quinn said.
Post members also will make their building available for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and service officers for veterans, as well as any non-veteran aid they can provide.
NEF grants provide immediate financial assistance for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members who have been affected by the natural disaster. Legion posts also qualify. The NEF provides up to $3,000 for Legion and SAL members with an active membership who have been displaced due to damages to their primary residence, and up to $10,000 for posts that have been damaged by a natural disaster and whose programs and activities within the community are impacted.