Hurricane Harvey has caused unimaginable distress to the people of Texas. Thousands of Americans are displaced. Many have lost their homes and all their possessions and are struggling to find food for their families.
In the midst of this national tragedy, disagreements have broken out regarding the administration of disaster relief. One Texas woman took to Facebook to share an allegedly heated altercation she had with representatives of the Red Cross when they berated her for trying to bring warm food to evacuees in a shelter.
Lindsey Scott is a volunteer currently helping the deeply affected people of Texas. Among the duties she has taken on during the relief effort has been coordinating the transportation of much-needed supplies to the state’s many shelters.
Scott used the Facebook account of her sister, Jamie Mitchell Matuska, to describe a discomforting encounter she had with a husband/wife team of Red Cross workers who allegedly wanted to assert control over all aid being administered in the locality.
It all began when Scott was “berated” by the Red Cross workers at Jack Brooks airport in Beaumont, Texas. According to Scott, the husband and wife “accosted” her for bringing 400 hamburgers when the people staying in the shelter had already eaten sandwiches.
Scott argued that the evacuees had eaten nothing more than the sandwich in 24 hours and were in dire need of a “warm” meal. But the Red Cross individuals were irate and tried to place the hot burgers in an ice chest.
The pilot who accompanied Scott was allegedly disheartened by the Red Cross workers’ reaction. Besides flying in a large load of relief supplies, the pilot had hoped to personally serve the food to the afflicted people in the shelter.
In the end, Scott and the pilot took the warm burgers to the shelter and personally served them to the large crowd. However, the experience was unsettling for Scott, who felt the Red Cross was trying to assert unnecessary control over a successful community relief program.
Scott wrote, “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.”
Scott closed her remarks with praise for the hard-working volunteers of Texas. “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 s*** 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!”
As NPR reports, the Red Cross has previously come under fire for building only 6 homes in Haiti after raising $500 million for the nation’s earthquake relief. As seen on Twitter, the Red Cross is the charity Barack Obama has asked Americans to donate to for Harvey aid.