Minnesotans head to Houston for Hurricane Harvey relief

- Countless Texans remain stranded as they brace for yet another round of heavy rainfall along the Gulf Coast.

By Monday afternoon more than a couple dozen Minnesotans joined the thousands who flocked to Texas to lend a hand as Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak havoc on a large swath of the Lone Star State.

Twenty-eight American Red Cross Minnesota volunteers are already in the thick of relief efforts.

“Houston had 20 inches of rain yesterday and we’re expecting between overnight and today another 20 inches,” Hildred Dungan of Minneapolis told Fox 9 by phone.

Dungan, a nearly 80-year-old volunteer, couldn’t deploy to Texas soon enough.

“We really need people’s help,” she said.

Catastrophic rainfall is expected to continue to ravage the upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana through Friday.

“We have about 2,000 volunteers from across the country there right now and we’re expecting that to double,” said Carrie Carlson-Guest, the Red Cross Minnesota communications officer. “We will have many more volunteers going and all of them are going for at least two weeks.”

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army has at least 42 mobile kitchens in Texas, which volunteers use to churn out upwards of 42,000 meals a day to displaced survivors. 

“Being able to cook on location is important and this is what we do,” said Jim Daly, a longtime Red Cross Minnesota volunteer. “[The mobile kitchens] have their own propane, their own generator.” 

Daly has manned “canteens,” what the mobile kitchens are otherwise referred to, hundreds of times over the last 17 years. The retired sheriff’s deputy knows all about disasters and what it takes to recover from one. Daly has offered volunteer relief during 9/11, the 35-W bridge collapse and the 2011 North Minneapolis tornado, to name a few.

“Ice, refrigeration, when you think about it, for many people – coffee!” he said of the everyday things he’ll soon offer Harvey survivors.

Daly and volunteers like him expect to have their hands full once south. Harvey is set to impact the area for months, if not years.

“They have no resources left or they’re going to run out very quickly, so it’s going to be a long, long recovery process and painful for many,” Daley nodded. 

Both the Salvation Army North and Red Cross Minnesota offices have been inundated with calls from Minnesotans eager to help.

“The most effective thing people can do right now is give a financial donation, give whatever they can afford to give, give whatever they’re moved to give,” said Salvation Army Media Relations Director Julie Borgen.

“Money is the best resource that people can offer there right now,” Carlson-Guest of the Red Cross echoed.

To learn how you can help Harvey survivors, click here.

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