I live in Arlington TX, and as most of you may know, many of the evacuees/victims of Katrina have found their way here.
Last Wednesday night my wife called me. She runs newspapers during the night and the local Holiday Inn is one of her stops. While walking in she noticed a desperate looking man standing out front and said good morning.
She instantly recognized his cajun accent and began to find out that he and 15 of his family members had packed into a minivan and made their way here. She also found out that the hotel was charging them $68 a night. The man was in tears while talking about his home on the west bank of New Orleans and the thought that his birth home has fallen into a catastrophic state.
Later she talked to the manager and they came to an agreement that they would put up and feed these folks and she would come up with necessary items. Many of the 25 families/250 people staying there were people either employed by the hotel franchise owner or were guest at one of their NO hotels and were evacuate with the hotel employees. The hotel also is allowing the evacuees' pets.
My wifes mouth went into action.:)
Through a mass networking campaign she has been able to amass 2 hotel rooms FULL of clothing, toothbrushes toothpaste, toiletries, games, shoes, 500 movie passes, local Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlinton transportation, snack foods, laundry products, etc. etc.
One of the gentlemen I talked to was a restuarant owner. He brought his wife, a waitress, and a few other people. He told us that he went back and walked through waste deep water to get his pets (several pomeranians).
Another(the man who got my wife's heart) was a seafood salesman/ex-fisherman. He brought his kids, grandkids, 15 in all.
These people have NOTHING! I was in the room this morning while they were having a meeting about sending 1 person from each family to go and try to retrieve their personal documents and other most necessary papers only.
The total count of refugees in Arlington I don't know but it has grown significantly.
My heart goes out to these people and their plight.
Please donate your time, money or other items no matter how simple, to some of the many groups spread out all over. Imagine having nothing left but the clothes on your back.
For people in the DFW area, With a little networking, it is surprising how many things can be gathered. The most simplest things are the things most often overlooked. Check your local hotels and see if there are any evacuees there to help.
They will appreciate it.