Texas is feeling the devastating effects of weeks of heavy rain, tornadoes and flooding and the American Red Cross is there, helping people in the Lone Star State get back on their feet.
The storms have impacted about 35 percent of the state, destroying or damaging thousands of homes. The Red Cross is providing shelter, food, water, relief supplies, health services and emotional support to people in need.
Since early May, hundreds of Red Cross workers have opened 37 shelters, served more than 34,000 meals and snacks and handed out more than 33,000 relief items and cleaning supplies in Texas. In addition, 40 emergency response vehicles are distributing food and relief items in the affected communities and additional volunteers and vehicles are on alert if needed.
ONE FAMILY’S STORY One young mother escaped the weather in the Red Cross shelter in San Marcos. As she held her her three-month-old daughter close to her chest, Janie Loredo slowly rocked back and forth, trying not to think about the night she lost so much but could have lost even more.
She and daughter Noelia were asleep in their San Marcos apartment when the Blanco River jumped its banks and sent a surge of water her way. She recalled waking up and hearing the water rush by the ground-floor window.
“It destroyed our whole apartment. All of sudden we had nothing,” Loredo said. She described how she, the baby, her husband and 11-year-old daughter dashed to the second floor as the water rushed in. It was in those frantic moments that she began worrying about whether they were going to make it.
When she thinks back to what might have been, she looks down at her daughter sleeping on her shoulder and her eyes fill with tears. If the water had been a little faster or if she had been a little slower, the outcome easily could have been tragically different. “I’m overwhelmed but I try to put a smile on my face, but sometimes the smile does bring tears,” she said.
After the water went down enough where she could wade through it, the young mother was greeted by a muddy mess on the first floor and the furniture, the clothes, the keepsakes and mementos all were ruined. For her, it means starting over.
“I’m kind of scared and terrified. Where do I look? Right now we’re homeless. But I’m trying to keep my confidence up,” she said. “I’m trying to keep my spirits up, but it’s hard…it really is.”
In the coming days and weeks, Red Cross caseworkers will sit down one on one with families like Janie’s to figure out what comes next and help them get back on their feet.
HOW TO HELP 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.
SAFE AND WELL The Red Cross Safe and Well website is a place people affected by disaster can list themselves and their status so loved ones can check to see how they are. The site is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in both English and Spanish.