On Friday, just before Hurricane Ike made landfall along the Texas coast, I traveled to East Texas and spoke with Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass and Smith County Judge Joel Baker. Together we visited St. Louis Baptist Church in Tyler, which is being utilized as a hurricane shelter. I also visited the American Red Cross sign-in headquarters, a hurricane shelter located at Dogwood Hills East Baptist Church, and the Emergency Operations Center in Anderson County with Sheriff Greg Taylor. We spoke with many citizens who had to evacuate, but who did so with strong resolve and positive outlooks. They expressed deep appreciation for the many volunteers who are working around the clock to provide for them in their time of need.
Texans staying in shelters like the ones in Tyler and Palestine, as well as others across our great state are in good hands. In fact, the Texas Department of Agriculture has been asked to deliver food commodities such as green beans, carrots, potatoes, various fruits and ground beef to the shelters this weekend.
This is a critical time for many, and is a great opportunity for Texans to help other Texans. I encourage you to donate to your local food banks. They need personal hygiene products, canned goods and single snack items like granola bars. You can also donate money to your local food bank.
I hope all Texans in the path of Hurricane Ike were able to get to a safe shelter. But the road to recovery will continue after the storm passes. We must continue to volunteer to help our fellow Texans pick up the pieces from the devastation this storm could bring.