Relief organizations like the American Red Cross are often the first to help when disaster strikes. But, there's a limit to what they can do. So where do families turn when that assistance runs out?
James Adams and his family lost everything when their N. Brook Ave. home went up in flames last Thursday. "I didn't know what to think, to be honest," said Adams. "Except, it's all gone."
Folks from the American Red Cross of North Central Texas were on site within minutes. In fact, Executive Director Katrina Farmer said they actually saw the smoke from their office. "This organization is the very first step to recovery after a natural disaster," she said.
The Red Cross provides food, clothing and a place to stay in the first critical days after a disaster. But, that's where what they can do ends.
"We meet one need," said Farmer, "and then we help you connect with those other agencies that can meet the further need." Other agencies like Faith Mission and the Salvation Army. Those groups can take over with a place to stay and regular hot meals.
Farmer said the Red Cross also takes care of issues like paper work and provides referrals to help you find aid specific to your situation.
But, Texoma has been hit with a rash of fires and cold temperatures have created a lot of need for these services. Farmer said the Red Cross is always short of volunteers and monetary donations.
Faith Mission Marketing Director Becky Browning said they are in need of food staples, toilet paper and coats. Browning also said they have a major need for men's pajama bottoms and larger size men's pants.
Farmer stressed the urgent need filled by these organizations in Texoma. "They were trying to get ahead," she said, referring to James Adams' family, "and then they lost it all. And how many of us are just one step away from that?"
Adams offered some advice for those who may find themselves in the same boat. "Keep on walking," he said. "that's all you can do. Just accept the help that is out there."
Tim Barnosky, Newschannel 6.
Click here for information on the American Red Cross of N. Central TX.