By Jim Burns, American Red Cross
ROCKPORT, Texas — Victor Balton considered himself doubly blessed last week: An American Red Cross volunteer walked him through the process of applying online for $400 to help him get back on his feet after Hurricane Harvey. And much to his relief, he was promptly approved.
“I applied to the American Red Cross,” he said, “(and) within 24 hours I was approved, and I’m on my way to Walmart — with the assistance of Marilyn — to pick up my $400.”
Marilyn Stevens, from Illinois, was one of many Red Cross volunteers at the multi-agency resource center site in Rockport each day last week, doing what they could to help residents file the Red Cross online application for Harvey-related financial assistance. The Rockport assistance was part of a larger effort the Red Cross was making to ensure that people living in the most remote – and most devastated – communities on the South Texas coastline have a chance to apply for the program.
Applicants who are approved for assistance can choose how to receive their aid, whether through Zelle (electronic funds transfer to participating banks), MoneyGram, Walmart or PayPal.
Kevin and Jessica Lasiter, who traveled 40 miles from Refugio to the Rockport site on Thursday, were also happy to have been approved for the $400-per-household assistance.
“We asked for help from the American Red Cross, and we got it within a couple of days,” Kevin said. “We sure appreciate the Red Cross and everything you do.”
“It helped us out a lot,” Jessica added.
Balton and the Lasiters are two of the more than 370,000 Texas households that — as of Sept. 28 — had received more than $148 million in direct financial assistance from the Red Cross to help with immediate hurricane-related expenses.
Financial aid is just one of the ways in which the Red Cross is helping the hundreds of thousands of people in the Lone Star State who have been directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey. As of Sept. 28, statistics show:
- Overnight, more than 1,280 people stayed in 12 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas.
- Along with its partners, the Red Cross has served more than 3.5 million meals and snacks in Texas and Louisiana.
- More than 2,400 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground in Texas, with nearly 150 on the way.
- As many as 163 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are still delivering meals and relief supplies across the hardest-hit communities.
- Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 108,000 mental health and health services to support and care for people in Texas and Louisiana.
- The Red Cross has distributed nearly 1.2 million relief items such as diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and “comfort kits” containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items, in Texas and Louisiana.