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How some 5 gallon buckets define America in times of need

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WATERBURY --  Despite Connecticut experiencing very little meteorological impact from what has been a very active hurricane season, recovery workers from Connecticut continue to make an impact on recovery efforts in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico.

This includes the Waterbury Salvation Army, whose new executive director and longtime operations manager recently returned from hurricane relief trips.

Of course, Hurricane Harvey left behind devastating flooding in the Houston area.

"You realize how special you have it when you see everything that's been taken away," said Major James Purvis, Executive Director of the Waterbury Salvation Army.

He was tasked with managing the Salvation Army's relief warehouse in Houston.

"You can find food in there, cleaning supplies, boots, shoes," he said.

Among the donated items coming in from across the country: 5 gallon buckets of cleaning supplies with the message "from Katrina survivors in New Orleans," written on the sides. These supplies were earmarked for three Houston churches.

"They couldn't believe that the people from New Orleans remembered them and said 'If they can get through it then then the people of Houston can get through it'," said Purvis.

And, following Hurricane Irma, another member of the Waterbury Salvation Army's team headed to Florida with a mobile kitchen.

"We served about 500 meals the first day," said Bri Pierscinski, the operations manager of the Waterbury Salvation Army.

Where her group did much of their work was in the Little Havana and Little Haiti sections of Miami. And, what astonished her away was how helpful those in need wanted to be to the relief workers.

"They want to serve you, even though you are there to serve them. So they would offer us you know a drink and food but we're here to help you," Pierscinski said. "That's what the Army does. It was a great experience."

She says it seems likely that she and the major will be sent to Puerto Rico next.

Response efforts to the hurricanes and flooding are expected be costly and last for years. The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation.

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