As Houston evacuees begin to flood into shelters around Texas, health care professionals like Stephanie Ayers will be there to greet them.
Five Ways to Help Houston
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is reporting a critical shortage, and has extended hours at all of its San Antonio-area donor rooms. To donate, call 210-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.
The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas, 78238.
The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
Source: New York Times
Ayers, an assistant professor at West Coast University-Dallas and registered nurse, is volunteering as a shelter nurse for those displaced by Hurricane Harvey. But she's not the only one from WCU helping out.
Before heading home briefly after her 12-hour night shift and returning to work on campus, Ayers was pleased to discover her replacement at the shelter was recent WCU-Dallas graduate Isabel Sanclemente.
"This is the second time a WCU student has taken over for me. When I left my job at a hospital a WCU grad took my position, and now this," she said. "I'm not sure of which one I'm more proud of."
Ayers is no stranger to emergencies. She has volunteered with the Red Cross in a variety of roles for more than 40 years, including serving with disaster stress-dog organization Therapy Dogs International for more than 14 years.
On Saturday night, Ayers and other Red Cross volunteers in Dallas helped 300 people at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center. On Monday, as the waters continued to rise, she said many more people were expected to need food, housing and medical care.
"We will open the Dallas Convention Center that will host 5,000 displaced persons from the coastal and Houston areas," Ayers said. "WCU students that have completed C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) training have been notified about where they are needed and they will be able to assist me as they are made available by the dean of nursing."
Ayers said the mood overnight at the Dallas shelter was "very tearful," but some signs of normalcy had begun to trickle in. A nearby school had opened it doors to children aged 4-14 at the shelter, but nothing was available currently for the displaced high schoolers.
"We're trying to bring some order to the chaos, but not everything is running smoothly just yet," she said.