Rapid response from local volunteers as Harvey floods Texas


JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- Over the weekend volunteers from organizations like the American Red Cross made their way to Houston, Texas and the surrounding area.

On Monday, as flooding continued to plaugue that area, we found more volunteers from the Tri-Cities region are offering a helping hand.

Monday morning we watched as volunteers loaded up an emergency response vehicle at the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee in Kingsport.

Executive Director Glenda Bobalik said the truck will carry water, food, and supplies for people along the Texas gulf coast.

Bobalik said they have volunteers not only in Texas, but also Louisiana.

“This is going to be a massive sheltering program, and we are trying to get as many people down there focused on feeding and sheltering people at this time,” Bobalik said.

Not far from where volunteers were leaving from Kingsport, we also found volunteers with the Mountain Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross gearing up to leave from Bristol.

Barry Abromovage told us this trip to help the efforts in Texas will be his 16th deployment.

“We’re going to stage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana until the roads are clear in Houston, we have other people going that will staff the shelters, FEMA tells us that there will be 30,000 people in the shelters by the end of tonight, perhaps…all those people need to be fed, and cared for,” Abromovage said.

Bill Grennell with the Mountain Empire Chapter told us more volunteers will be deployed this coming week.

“I believe they are expecting 7,500 volunteers and staff from the Red Cross to arrive in the next few days,” Grennell said.

Also, in Piney Flats, CEO and founder of Chef Minute Meals, Barry Sendel, said they’ve already sent thousands of meals to Texas.

“Since Sunday we’ve shipped out six tractor trailer loads of meals, and we’re shipping out another six tonight,” Sendel said.

According to Red Cross officials, hundreds of volunteers from all over the country are on the ground now, working to help those impacted by Harvey. They say the Red Cross has enough shelter supplies in Texas to support 28,000 people and supplies for an additional 22,000 people are being sent in. The Red Cross also has tractor trailer loads of ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies in Texas.

The Red Cross says it has launched a “massive relief response” to the storm and needs financial donations to be able to provide immediate disaster relief.

Those interested can help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Donations can also be made by check mailed to American Red Cross, 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport, TN 37663. Indicate Hurricane Harvey in the memo area of the check.Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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