Volunteers head to help people suffering in Texas

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Storm after storm ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma over the past couple of weeks, taking 17 lives so far, with more than a dozen others reported missing.

Thousands of homes have been destroyed and thousands more are without power. Governors of both Texas and Oklahoma have declared disasters in more than 80 counties. 

With area resources stretch to the limit, the Red Cross is sending additional personnel, including Jaleen Muex-Street, a disaster program specialist from Jacksonville.

"I expect that there's going to be a quite a bit of people that need assistance, so we're going to have to organize the need and then engage," Muex-Street said. "And when I say engage, I mean we have to get out there and meet those needs: food, clothing and shelter."

The Northeast Florida Red Cross has sent Muex-Street to disasters like this before. Her experience and willingness to help others keeps her motivated.

"I'm actually fueled by the fact that there's a need for us 'Red Crossers' -- that's what they call us," Muex-Street said. "We get excited when there's a cry for help, and that's what this, is a cry for help. And I want to go and help."

Muex-Street is one of about a dozen Red Crossers from our region that will be assisting families in Texas. She said her trip may last a couple weeks, but she's willing to stay longer.

"We want to make sure the community knows that we're out there and we're here for them," she said.

As the needs of the communities affected by the storms are determined, the local Red Cross plans to send volunteers like Muex-Street to those disaster sites to help with recovery efforts.

Anyone who wants to help the thousands of families affected by the recent storms can donate money or even become a Red Cross volunteer, visit RedCross.org/fl/jacksonville.