ALTO, TX (KTRE) - Even as life begins returning to somewhat normal in the City of Alto, volunteers are needed to help storm victims manage and receive some of the most basic of needs.
LaTonia Sanders, a representative from East Texas Food Bank. said the devastation didn’t meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s criteria for need, but she said she’s spoken to enough people to understand the need is still great even on a minimum level.
Many residents who rely on SNAP Benefits have limited transportation after severe storms tore through the city April 13. Sanders said many victims do not have vehicles to make the trip to Rusk to fill out the necessary forms to get their SNAP Benefits reloaded.
“Some have no vehicles, so they have to catch rides. And because of their losses, they’re limited on gasoline,” said LaTonia Sanders, benefits specialist with East Texas Food Bank. “Some are continuing to work in the midst of this storm, so it’s hard for them to take off from their jobs and go down to the office.
“No one is complaining, it’s just that’s a barrier.”
A lack of resources has become the main issue for many residents who depend on assistance. Sanders said she has identified a similar need for more volunteers from nonprofit organizations and outreach programs who could assist those who have unmet needs.
“Yesterday, there was a total of, approximately 95 victims who were standing at the door. I was blessed to help at least 35-40," said Sanders. “I came back this morning to redo those same numbers, I’m willing to come next week, and I’m saying to any other nonprofit organization out there has the opportunity to release someone to come to this area and do some help to please come and do so.”
Siu Chapa, an employee at the Chapparal Center, said some storm victims just want their homes to feel somewhat normal.
“Cleaning supplies, such as bleach, work gloves, garbage bags; just general cleaning supplies,” said Chapa. “Right now, the immediate needs are house supplies to get their homes back in order.”
Chapa said potential volunteers can call the Chaparral Center for more information on how you can met needs in the area.
If you’d like to donate to the tornado victims as a whole, KTRE and KLTV have partnered with the East Texas Food Bank and the Red Cross to help those in need. Both agencies are responding to communities impacted by tornadoes and severe weather.
A donation of any amount could help provide food or shelter for our neighbors in need and help put them on the road to recovery.
To donate to the East Texas Food Bank by phone, call 903-597-3663 or 800-815-3663. To donate to the Red Cross by phone, call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669). ¿Habla español? Llama 1-800-435-7669.