By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross
HOUSTON, Texas – A voice from a loudspeaker announces: “Free warm meals.”
The offer booms from an American Red Cross vehicle, stocked with Salisbury steak, mixed vegetables, snacks and drinks. It’s one of more than 150 emergency response vehicles still delivering food to communities devastated five weeks ago by Hurricane Harvey.
Trucks line up daily at one of the six field kitchens operated by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Food prepared by Southern Baptist volunteers is loaded onto Red Cross trucks and delivered to communities where people are still focused on clean-up and recovery.
Working with its partners, the Red Cross has served more than 3.4 million meals and snacks in the impacted areas of Texas and Louisiana. At the same time, volunteers have distributed more than 1.1 million relief items, such as diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items.
Meanwhile, thanks to the generosity of the American public, the Red Cross has authorized more than $148 million in financial assistance to help more than 370,000 households meet immediate needs, and application processing continues.
Bonnie Vargo, who was forced from her home in Houston by the storm, applied for that help on Sept. 21, the day the financial assistance program relaunched. “It was early, about 8:30 in the morning,” she said. “It went straight through, and I got my money the same day. It was definitely a help.”
You can help by making a financial donation to the Red Cross by visiting redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.