DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - North Texans are heading south to help people impacted by what is now Tropical Storm Harvey. At the same, evacuees are trying to head north in their quest to escape dangerous conditions in the Houston-area.
More than 500 people, from various places across south Texas, are waking up in Dallas shelters today. There, Red Cross volunteers are supplying hot meals, basic necessities, and a dry place to sleep... and the city is preparing to help thousands more storm victims.
The Samuell Grand Recreation Center in east Dallas is one of three shelters opened to help those fleeing the wrath and aftermath of Harvey. Between 6 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday some 46 people arrived from the Houston-area and more are coming. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of the Convention Center staff scheduled a press conference to explain the process of preparing for evacuees arriving from the Gulf Coast.
Jeffery Bean and his wife are two of the people who were able to make their way from Baytown to North Texas. But the couple said while they were packing up, no one else in their extended families would leave.
Bean admits he too was initially reluctant to head to higher ground. "But then I got this little super-feeling, a tingling that came through my bones, and I said 'Babe this is fixin' to be a weird one.' [And then] she looked at her arms and she got tingles too," he said.
This morning an 18-wheeler arrived at the rec center with mobile shower unit in tow. It was a sight for sore eyes for evacuees especially considering many had to leave with only what they could carry or fit in their cars.
Red Cross volunteer Georgia Duncan said, "If people can take a shower, put on fresh clothes it just makes a world of difference in how you feel about yourself and how you face the world."
The current three shelters, at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center on Midway Road, the Tommie Allen Recreation Center on Bonnie View Road, and the Samuell Grand Center on East Grand Avenue, are all staffed 24/7 by Red Cross volunteers. And on Tuesday, a mega shelter will open at the Dallas Convention Center. When it's up and running, the center will have room for 5,000 people.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings visited a shelter on Sunday and met with evacuees. Seeing the influx of families and with classes starting the Mayor said city leaders will have to start thinking about what to do with all the school-age children who are among the evacuees.
The Red Cross is accepting donations, but doesn't have the capacity to store items ike water, diapers, clothing and non-perishable food at shelter locations. Anyone wanting to make a donation is being asked to drop off items at the Trusted World center located at 15660 North Dallas Parkway. Workers with the non-profit group will sort the items and make sure they get to the shelters where they're needed most.
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