Ike victims line up for hours to get help

October 21, 2008 11:22:42 AM PDT
There are mixed emotions for hundreds of folks in Galveston. The Salvation Army is handing out gift cards for Wal-Mart but some folks are waiting in line for hours only to miss out on the much appreciated act of charity.ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim

A lot of the folks are grateful, but frustrated. Many of them have been waiting in line for hours, some of them with small children just to get assistance. And to make matters worse, there are no restroom facilities available outside a car dealership where they're lined up.

The Salvation Army has been out there since last Thursday. The folks waiting in line will each receive two $100 gift certificates from Wal-Mart, courtesy of the Salvation Army. They will also get boxes of food and a cleaning kit.

Each person must first visit with a case worker. Then they will have to prove they are a resident of Galveston. Residents can either show a driver's license, a state ID or some registration papers from FEMA.

These people are desperate for help. Some of them are homeless while others are staying in their homes but with nothing.

"We've been here since 1 o'clock this morning, me, the two-year-old and the six-month-old," said Galveston resident Jodi Kersting. "There are lots of other people out here with babies and we just can't get any help in Galveston. Nobody wants to help us. There are tons of people that FEMA hasn't event called back yet to get their houses inspected. My mother-in-law has her house that washed away and they still have come to see her."

"I do believe that things could be handled in a more professional manner for us on Galveston Island," said Galveston resident Mary Phillip. "Galveston Island has 60,000 people living on this island and we took a direct hit. It seems that we are the forgotten souls down here."

There is a reason that the Salvation Army is only helping only 250 people at a time. That's because of the limited case workers on the site. There are no other volunteers. The organization that is helping those is in need of help themselves.

Another distribution center from the Salvation Army has come online today in the Kemah area. They will be at the Kemah Community Center at 800 Harris Avenue. That center will be open from 10am to 5pm and it will be assisting residents from Kemah, Seabrook and San Leon.

A Salvation Army representative says other centers will be coming online as the needs arise.

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