Shelters Are In Need Of Relief - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/27/05 - East Texas

Shelters Are In Need Of Relief

by Ramonica R. Jones

The folks in Zavalla say Gulf Coast evacuees aren't the only ones having a hard time dealing with Rita's aftermath. They could also use a helping hand.

Three days after storms swept across East Texas, help is finally here.

Volunteer Kevin Marshall said, "We unloaded two trucks (Monday). We've got two truckloads of water and ice sitting here. There may be some more coming in."

FEMA trucks pulled into Zavalla Monday full of everything from water and ice to snacks and canned goods. The supplies are being handed out to just about anyone who needs them.

Bobby Epperly, Zavalla police chief, said, "It's for anybody that lives in this area that's been affected by this storm, and any evacuees that might be staying in this area. Currently, we're issuing it out by the size of their families. A family of four is getting a couple bags of groceries. We've limited the ice to about ten bags per person. The water, a family of four is getting probably three gallons of water at a time."

Area residents are glad the help is finally here, but many are wondering what took so long to get it.

Michelle Johns of Huntington said, "This kind of breaks my heart that there are so many people in need not getting the help that they need. You got Houston, you got Beaumont, you got Lufkin and Nacogdoches; they're big cities, but these little bitty people are not getting it. I was spared and I am very, very grateful and God bless everyone that is watching over everybody."

All over East Texas, big rigs are being used to stock and restock area shelters running low on supplies. It took a lot of resources to provide relief after Katrina, now several facilities could use a little relief themselves.

In addition to donations, volunteers are also needed to help distribute items to those in need. Just drop by the Salvation Army or the Red Cross to find out how you can lend a hand.

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