Hurricane Harvey “Biggest Test Yet” for New Red Cross Warehouse in Arlington

The Red Cross is working feverishly to get critical supplies down to the Texas coast ahead of Hurricane Harvey.

Volunteers arrived early Friday morning to the organization's 300,000 square foot warehouse in Arlington to begin loading those supplies into trailers.

For now, they're primarily sending cots, blankets, and hygiene products, so they can open emergency shelters quickly. They're also sending supplies for mobile kitchens.

Three 18-wheelers took off from the warehouse for the Gulf on Thursday. The Red Cross was hoping to get six more on the road Friday.

Since it first opened in 2014, the warehouse -- the largest such Red Cross facility in the country -- has responded to its fair share of disasters. But officials say Harvey may be their biggest test yet.

"I don't think it's ever seen a call quite like this one," said Dan Halyburton, a spokesperson for the Red Cross. "Clearly this is a very dangerous storm that is going to impact a lot of people. So this has been a very, very busy place."

Red Cross North Texas Region CEO Keith Rhodes says his staff and volunteers have been working around the clock all week to ensure they can respond effectively.

He's banking on it, because this particular response is personal to him. Long before he worked for the Red Cross, he was a resident of New Orleans and was living there when Hurricane Katrina hit. 

"The American Red Cross was the organization that came in immediately and helped me and helped my family," said Rhodes. "After the storm is over, there's another storm that goes into place for these individuals that are impacted. And we're there as a humanitarian organization to help those individuals."

The Red Cross says there are enough supplies in their Arlington warehouse to help more than 200,000 people. But they'll rely on money donations from the public to keep supplies coming in as quickly as they go out.

"This warehouse is full thanks to the generosity of people in Texas and people around the United States," said Halyburton. "So if you can do that, we very much appreciate it."

To make a donation online, visit the Red Cross website.

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