It’s awful to think that anyone would try to slow down relief efforts to those devastated by natural disasters. It’s especially troubling to think it could come from an organization that is as well known as the American Red Cross, but the evidence is stacking up against them. The Red Cross was started in 1881 by nurse and teacher Clara Barton. The humanitarian organization is one that is supposed to provide emergency assistance, disaster relief and education in the United States.
Sadly, this once beloved organization has been getting a bad reputation in the past few years as money has been missing and those they’ve promised to help aren’t receiving the full benefit of what was donated to their cause. While many haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to the issue, just shifting their donations to other channels, the Red Cross has officially completely overstepped.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, The Red Cross showed up in full force along with the National Guard, FEMA, and many concerned citizens, looking to help. The citizens who were rallying support from their local communities weren’t very well accepted by the Red Cross though, which doesn’t seem to play well with others. While we’d like to believe that this was just one big misunderstanding about protocol, the story from one pregnant lady who showed up with hundreds of burgers to help paints a picture that leaves the Red Cross looking like red tape and us wondering if our donations should go elsewhere.
The Facebook post details what she encountered when trying to bring food the hungry evacuees.
“My sister says I can use her FB page to get something off my chest if I identify myself lol. This is Lindsey Scott, and I’m astonished at the behavior of the Red Cross husband/wife team at the mid-county Jack Brooks airport yesterday. Who together accosted me and took turns berating me because I was trying to bring 400 warm hamburgers to our hungry evacuees, who according to them did not need the food because they had “already had a sandwich.” Yes, they had 1 sandwich [sic] in 24 hours. They were desperate for a hot meal! The Red Cross proceeded to try and load the warm, ready to eat burgers into an ice chest. The pilot, who had donated his time, fuel, money, plane and arranged the delivery of the burgers was horrified at not being able to serve them (he actually came to volunteer as well). I confess I just stood there with my mouth gaping open, fighting back tears while they told me that I did not know what I was doing and they had not even seen me volunteering. This is not a normal reaction for me but either exhaustion or pregnancy hormones got the best of me because I simply couldn’t find the words to fight back…
The Red Cross was not there at 6:30 am when we got there to find we had no food to serve the 100s of evacuees who had sat on a bus all night and some who had not eaten in 24 hours. They were not there when the sun came up and they woke up hungry, angry, tired, scared, and frustrated. They did not see them fighting over donuts that OUR friends and family answered the call to bring at 7:00 am. They did not see the tears over dehydrated babies while we worked to arrange the delivery of Pedialyte and formula. They showed up HOURS later….when we had already coordinated the delivery of food and supplies with our LOCAL community members (who came out in droves) and The Sky Hope Network through our wonderful State Representative Dade Phelan after just a single phone call. And the reason they didn’t see me (sweating and sunburned) is because I spent most of the day on the aviation side of the airport on the tarmac coordinating the landing, unloading, and transport of supplies the Sky Hope Network was flying in all day. (which was no easy feat considering the insane, chaotic state of the Jerry Ware terminal). I do not care they weren’t there (I understand the vast, severe, damage that ranges from Corpus, Rockport, Houston all the way to Louisiana). I do, however, care how they treated the people of our community when they arrived!
These supplies/donations were made by OUR LOCAL community members and the Sky Hope Network (not the Red Cross) and the Red Cross wanted them all shipped to their warehouse for processing and distribution. Apparently they don’t do ‘local distribution.’ Say what?! We need these things here, locally, NOW. And while we refused to turn away anyone who came on foot or by other means (evacuee or not) or any other church, group, or organization asking for supplies…the Red Cross tried to prevent us from sharing OUR donations (contributed by our community for our community and surrounding areas). The kids that are barefoot need shoes NOW, not two weeks from now…and we had more than enough to share.
And the way, these two representatives of Red Cross treated local people who were donating their time (many in the wake of having lost everything of their own) and spending countless hours away from their kids and families in the wake of such tragedy hurts my heart. I pray this is not representative of the Red Cross organization as a whole. People who donate their money would be horrified. I’m thankful for our local volunteers who continued to fight with them (when I could not) and saw that the burgers and supplies were distributed to ALL those that needed them. As, OUR motto was, we turn no one away.
One thing I learned from this is THANK GOD I’m from TEXAS. Our men may spit, smoke, dip, cuss, and drink from time to time…but when the shit hits the fan, our husbands, brothers, dads, uncles, cousins, sons, and all the other men we know put on their boots, waders and get their boats and trucks and go to work! They aren’t afraid to get dirty or work long hours in the dark. They aren’t afraid of a little water, or snakes, or dogs that aren’t kenneled. They are strong enough to carry you out of your home and they can deal with being hungry, wet, cold, and tired (they deal with this sitting in deer and duck blinds half the year). They have the know how to save your animals (horses, cows, etc) and they WON’T QUIT until the work is done. And our community will answer the call to donate, collect and distribute supplies and food wherever it’s needed. I won’t be waiting on the Red Cross.
The Red Cross may have made a lot of mistakes, but trying to push around a pregnant lady who’d been on her feet all day was an obvious no-no. On top of that, it’s baffling to sort out what the purpose of putting away hot food would be. It would be one thing if this were cans or non-perishables, but anyone who’s ever gone through a fast food drive-through knows that when you’ve got a hot burger you need to get that taken care of ASAP.
We can hope that this was a misunderstanding and that an organization with the reputation that the Red Cross has had isn’t keeping relief efforts from reaching victims, but you might want to think twice before donating to them. Scott was definitely right about one thing; Texans don’t wait for permission for much, and they’re generally tough enough to do what needs to be done without a lot of outside help.
You might think that Texans are proud of their state for some unknown reason, but that’s not necessarily the case. Texas has always been known to be a tough place to live, so a lot of Texans are just proud that they lived there and it didn’t kill them. If Hurricane Harvey taught us anything, it’s that it takes a lot to kill a Texan, and the Red Cross bit off a little more than they can chew if they think they’re going to get in the way of Texans helping one another survive.
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