NJ CERT volunteers lend aid in hard-hit Texas areas

Three enthusiastic members of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) of Ocean County ventured to Texas to lend helping hands post-Hurricane Harvey.

Linda Salcfas, David Teixeira and Norma Bowe traveled from Newark Liberty International Airport to Houston’s Bush International Airport wearing green vests, armed to execute their services.  Bowe is a professor at Kean University.

The team traveled to Katy, one of the hard-hit communities in Houston.  They also helped at the mobile kitchen at Oak Meadows Church of God to support efforts, produced by The Rainbow Kitchen that supported efforts in Union Beach, New Jersey post-Superstorm Sandy.

“I was surprised to see no sign of the Red Cross. Very little FEMA presence. These folks don’t have cars because the areas were flooded. All the restaurants are closed. Everything was pretty much closed. Folks are relying on the mobile kitchen because they can’t get into town. There are ICE agents,” said Bowe.

Bowe and her CERT colleagues also traveled to Rockport, Texas, northeast of Corpus Christi, to distribute supplies such as Benadryl spray, itch cream and gift cards.

“People are living in horrendous conditions, roofs are blown out, they have no where to go.  Trailer homes are decimated. Big sheets of metal twisted on the roads.  The conditions are bad,” she said. “Volunteers are needed in Rockport where people are suffering.  A lot of people are in really bad shape.  We fed the homeless, brought gift cards to people, toiletries, people were bathing with bottled water.”

“Everything donated went directly the hands of people who needed it. It helped folks to know that we were from New Jersey and had survived Sandy. They knew that we understood what they were going through when the media and the rest of the country had already moved on from the story,” Bowe continued.

Bowe and her team are collecting goods to ship to Texas. You can drop-off supplies to Kean University, Hemmings Hall, Office 411.