Thousands of Angelina County Storm Victims Have Unmet Needs

A group of community leaders met Wednesday morning to decide what to do with a grant for post-disaster relief in Angelina County. That meeting got a little heated as almost a dozen non-profit agencies tried to agree on the best way to distribute the money.

Angelina County's Unmet Needs Committee spent part of the morning trying to decide who should get more than $41,000 set aside for post-disaster relief. The money is for Angelina County residents who have not gotten everything they need from government agencies.

Pastor Cedric Kenebrew said, "We should have an idea of - if the Salvation Army's dealing with people, Red Cross or whoever - a percentage of people right now that we're all dealing with as agencies."

While almost everyone agreed the money shouldn't go directly to the individuals and families that need help, it took some convincing before the group decided where the money should go.

Salvation Army Captain Lola Maldonado said, "We need to determine what's going to happen with the money without having this sort of confusion, and then I would rather see one agency get the money and we do the referral to them so the determination can be made."

After a half-hour discussion, the group finally agreed to give the money to Greater East Texas Community Action, a non-profit agency in Lufkin.

Case manager, Sonji Watts, said, "The elderly, disabled, and people with small childen are our top priority. We assist them with utility bills, weatherization, and also referrals to other organizations."

Eleven different agencies will refer at least two clients each to Community Action. That way the organization will know who needs help.

The money the county received is a grant from the state's Disaster Relief' Fund. It will be used to replace clothes, medicine, vehicles, and other items lost during Hurricane Rita.