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Hurricane Harvey recovery volunteers needed in Refugio County

Posted: 5:34 AM, Jul 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-06 06:34:54-04

It is hard to believe that we are coming up on the 1 year mark of Hurricane Harvey slamming into the Texas coast, and volunteers are still in great demand. 

If you’re looking to volunteer, Refugio County Volunteer Reception Center has plenty of opportunities in its ongoing Hurricane Harvey recovery effort. 

At the beginning, there were a lot of local volunteers.  But as Refugio county enters the long-term phase of recovery, the volunteer numbers have dropped dramatically. 

The Refugio County Volunteer Reception Center was established in November to help connect residents with unmet needs with volunteers after the storm. 

"Since November, we have been very short on volunteers and donations. So when we do have volunteers come in, pretty much all we can have them do is mucking and gutting, which is the tear out of sheet rock and insulation, or we are having them do yard clean-up yard debris," said Refugio County Volunteer Reception Center Director Dorey Williams. 

While the Center has helped more than 300 families in the County,  they are starting to get frustrated when it comes to helping the residents in Austwell, Tivoli, Bayside, and Woodsboro. 

"Not having the volunteers or the money needed to purchase materials so when the volunteers get here, that they can actually do the work. There is not a whole lot we can do so we are very dependent on volunteers and donations to get these people’s homes repaired and get them back in their house where it is safe and clean, and dry," said Williams. 

The volunteers who have helped through the Center have been able to do most of the work, but for some areas, such as roofing, electrical work, or leveling a foundation, there is still a big need for skilled volunteers. 

"It has been a long battle for us, and it will probably take another 2-3 years to complete and repair. Maybe even longer; it depends on the number of volunteers we can get into Refugio County to help us," said Williams. 

The Center only has 4 full-time staff members, and they do what they can to assist those who didn’t  have home insurance or who didn’t receive funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that were enough to cover all expenses. 

"There are a lot of residents that don’t know we are here, and they should come in, and we can try to do our best to help them or refer them to another organization pending on the damage they have. We can do some basic work, but if there is a total rebuild or replacing trailer houses, we have organizations we can refer them to to get that taken care of," said Williams.  

Refugio County residents needing help to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey may contact the Refugio County Volunteer Reception Center. 

Each homeowner must fill out an assistance request form. Information required includes what type of work is needed on the home, housing needs, immediate and long-term needs.
 
WHAT: Refugio County Volunteer Reception Center
WHEN: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: 301 N. Alamo, Refugio. The center is inside the Refugio Chamber of Commerce.
CONTACT: 361-230-1154 or refugiovolunteers@gmail.com
WEBSITE:  refugiovolunteerreceptioncenter.org