Groups and individuals in north Mississippi are working in an effort to help those in Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Three local organizations are leading the charge. Large organizations such as American Red Cross of North Mississippi have sent aid vehicles down to the Texas coast, while local nonprofit organizations like Tupelo-based Eight Days of Hope are asking for financial donations. Even individuals are getting in on the act, with an Oxford resident starting her own drive to help those in Dickinson, Texas.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane last Thursday and Texas is expecting a total nine days of rain. The Houston area has received 42 inches of rain so far, and that number is expected to grow to at least 50 inches by the time the storm has passed.
American Red Cross of North Mississippi sent two emergency response vehicles to the coast from locations in Columbus and Tupelo.
“Usually, there two people that go with an ERV,” Linda Longo, a program specialist at the Columbus office, said. “The vehicle from Tupelo has two people with it, but the one from Columbus has one person and is picking volunteers up along the way.”
Stored inside each ERV is an assortment of aid materials such as food, water, clean-up kits and other essential items for assistance. Volunteers help as directed by those working in close contact with flood victims and other organizations in the southern Texas area. The people working in the area of impact will then relay to Red Cross what the victims of the hurricane need most.
Clean-up kits cost the Red Cross $23.71 each, but they are distributed to all hurricane victims free of cost. These kits include Clorox bleach, respirator masks, heavy duty garbage bags, scrub brushes and medical gloves, among other things.
“What we hope to achieve is what we do achieve,” Longo said. “Any help at all is help.”
Another organization that is pitching in is Eight Days of Hope, a nonprofit Christian group based out of Tupelo. It primarily asks for financial donations that can be submitted on its website or by check to its P.O. box.
It has plans to provide physical aid to victims in Texas for eight weeks, but details of those plans will not be solidified until the end of this week, when the hurricane has fully passed.
Even individuals are getting in on the act.
Kay Hightower moved to Oxford from Dickinson, Texas, eight years ago. She has started her own personal drive for the victims back in Texas. Her daughter, Andrea, is currently a sophomore at the University of Mississippi and still has many family members living in Dickinson.
“My daughter is a Rebel, and I am a diehard Rebel fan,” Hightower said. “There are a lot of Rebel families that have been affected in Texas. They need our help.”
Hightower created flyers to raise awareness about the hurricane victims in Texas. Those flyers have been shared on Facebook to further spread the word.
The drive is asking for donations of diapers, baby formula and clothes, with two drop-off locations at the Hub and the Chick-fil-A on Jackson Avenue. Supplies donated will be taken to Dickinson, Texas, on Friday.
Many local churches are taking donations from their congregations. Some plan to take further action once the storm has completely passed.
First Baptist Oxford took a few financial donations during service last Sunday, and many churches plan on doing the same in the coming weeks.