DALLAS – As Tropical Storm Nate churns in the Gulf of Mexico, Dallas has become a hub for help. A group of volunteers called American Black Cross gathered more than $3 million in relief items to help victims affected since Hurricane Harvey.
At a warehouse in North Dallas, volunteers are working hard. They are sorting and sifting through thousands of boxes filled with hurricane relief items.
Cory Hughes, a social justice activist, is one of the organizers of American Black Cross. He was busy arranging boxes with volunteers. Hughes said, ”Average people, everyday people, actually care about people that they’ve never met.”
The group of volunteers behind the grassroots disaster relief effort is made of community members from diverse backgrounds with a common goal of helping those in need.
Organizer and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt has been busy too. He said he’s not surprised by the magnitude of support coming in from across the world.
Merritt explained, ”When we want to help, we don’t trust the stallworth organizations anymore. Just to give our money over to them, and trust that they will do the right thing. We learned a long time during Hurricane Katrina that the dollars don’t necessarily get to where we want them to be.”
American Black Cross has already assisted communities across southern Texas and Louisiana after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The relief items, this time, are being packaged and sent to some of the most hurricane devastated areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Tia Cole is a volunteer from Fort Worth. She drives an hour and forty-five minutes to help the team. ”It’s amazing. Every time I see these boxes, it makes it more important that I come out and open these boxes, because it’s got to get to the right people," Cole said.
Helping hands are coming in from across the country. Kim Nockard and her daughter flew in from California to volunteer with American Black Cross.
”We just kind of came on a whim. We saw on Facebook that they needed help out here in Dallas. I just happened to have a week off work, and I told my daughter you want to go to Dallas?”
American Black Cross says its mission is making sure the donations for directly to those in need, especially, survivors in areas that are being overlooked.
A group of friends from Puerto Rico living in North Texas signed up to volunteer. They still have family members stuck on the island. They say communication has been spotty. Volunteering at the American Black Cross warehouse is helping them cope.
“The fact that we can provide food, things that people need to those areas, is very gratifying," Charles Fermaintt said.
American Black Cross is working to ship out and personally deliver the relied items as fast as it can. Organizers say they need more volunteers.
People interested in learning more about volunteering with American Black Cross can visit the non-profit organization’s website.