Residents of Texas have been battling a severe weather pattern which could bring more flooding and tornadoes over the next few days in areas where thousands of homes are already destroyed or have been damaged.
The storms have impacted more than a third of the state. Hundreds of American Red Cross workers are providing a safe place to stay, food and water, relief supplies, health services and emotional support to people in need. Some residents have been hit repeatedly and the Red Cross is assisting them for the second time. Here are some examples of the help the Red Cross is providing:
MAN’S BEST FRIEND RESCUED
During a trip to assess storm damage in Martindale, Texas, one Red Cross volunteer was able to help a man rescue his pet dog. Red Cross volunteer Michele Maki traveled to Martindale from her home in Menifee, California to help. She was checking out the flood damage when she came across Frank Bowen, of Martindale, who had been driving on a muddy road with his dog Zhu Zhu. Bowen’s vehicle slid into a ditch and he was unable to get the vehicle out.
A flash flood warning was up for the area and the rain was starting to fall. Bowen didn’t want to leave his dog in the car but he was having trouble getting it out because the angle of the car in the ditch. When Michele and another Red Cross volunteer came upon the scene, she offered to take the dog from Frank and bring it to safety. Last seen, Bowen and Zhu Zhu were on their way to higher ground.
DIGITAL VOLUNTEERS HELP DEAF FAMILY
Social media can be very important during a disaster. Red Cross digital volunteers work vigilantly to connect with people who need help. One of the most recent examples showing the value of social media during disaster is the connection that happened between a deaf family in Texas and our casework team. Red Cross digital volunteers worked to connect the family with the assistance they needed, knowing their only way to get help was through the use of the written word.
The digital space and disaster response continues to evolve, becoming more important and valuable with each passing day. With each new disaster, the Red Cross will be there, physically and digitally, providing hope and help to those affected by disaster.
FAMILY LOSES EVERYTHING
Jerry Garcia and his family escaped rising flood waters in the Red Cross shelter in San Marcos. There he met Janet Upchurch, a Red Cross volunteer who journeyed from her home in Riverside, California to help people in Texas.
“They escaped with their lives and nothing more,” Upchurch related about the family. “They lost everything. Our Red Cross caseworker has secured an apartment for them, but Jerry doesn’t want to leave. He enjoys watching movies on TV here and doesn’t ask for anything. He is so happy. I know having a real home again is the best thing but he’s shared that’s going to miss us.
“Living in a shelter can be very stressful, but Jerry is always smiling. He’s brought out the best in me, and I’m going to miss his, sweet, sweet soul. But I’m happy for him and his mother. With the help of the Red Cross, they can start the process of recovery.”
The seemingly endless flooding and tornadoes have impacted thousands of residents all over the Lone Star State and the Red Cross is there helping. Since early May, 1, 800 Red Cross workers have opened 37 shelters, served 40,000 meals and snacks and handed out 34,000 relief items and cleaning supplies in Texas. In addition, 40 emergency response vehicles are distributing food and relief items in the communities and additional volunteers and vehicles are on alert if needed.
A donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief can help provide food, water and shelter for someone who has to leave their home. Help people affected by disasters like floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
DOWNLOAD THE EMERGENCY APP The Red Cross “Emergency” app can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts. You can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.