Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're trying to help.

Lots of Hurricane Ike evacuees on the busses today, trying to make their way around to find help.

I'm not very good at planning, but I know without a doubt that if I was going to evacuate my home, one of the things I would remember to take would be clothing. Apparently, this thought escaped a lot of people. Or they expected it to be another Gustav, where they'd be bussed home within a day or two. Or they didn't have the sense to hop a bus and leave, and were pulled out of the water with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Or some of all the above, actually.

Clothes seem to be the big issue with these evacuees. The Salvation Army or Goodwill or both is/are handing out $20 (per person, minimum) clothing vouchers. Catch is, you've got to go to their job center & register. Apparently, they mean their central, big job help center. We had a fellow on the route 91 trying to get over there. Only problem with this is that, although the 91 goes by it, it goes by it. Doesn't stop anywhere near; he needed the 92.

Waiting for the bus downtown to go to Bobbie's school to pick her up, we encountered another evacuee. She had a parrot in a cage and two cats in cardboard carriers that she wasn't even sure were still alive (they were). She said she had come from Galveston and was upset that the shelter wouldn't take her. Someone told her to go to the "Air Force Base." She then said Stinson, which isn't a base but a municipal airfield, and the main place they're housing evacuees' pets. We assured her she'd been given the right bus route to take and that they'd care for her animals there. (All volunteer vet techs and veterinarians & assorted other animal lovers.) She was visibly upset, and reasonably so, but one thing she said struck me as a bit unfair. "No one in this city cares about me."

She was standing at a bus stop with five total strangers doing our best to help her.

This city is doing its best. We've still got about 3,000 people in shelters. They are being housed. They are being fed hot meals. They've been given wristbands that give them free bus rides. Via not only picked them up from the Coast, they're running shuttles from the shelters (at least the main one) downtown on a regular basis (more often than the real route I was taking, in fact). We're housing, feeding, and caring for their pets--pets which many Ike evacuees are likely to leave, as the Gustav evacuees did. Bobbie's school is collecting supplies. My church is raising money. A lot of the other churches are hosting special-medical-needs evacuees. The food bank has 900 "spontaneous volunteers" working there, including some evacuees.

We care.

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