As tornado victims in North Texas continue to pick up the pieces, disaster relief organizations remain by their side, working around the clock to help. The American Red Cross says the response has been such a huge undertaking, it is starting to run low on supplies.
It's not often that Anita Foster walks through the Red Cross's massive supply warehouse in Arlington – the largest in the country – and sees rows of empty shelves. But then again, it's not often she and other Red Cross workers find themselves responding to a disaster the magnitude of the recent tornadoes.
"We have sent thousands and thousands of supplies out of here to the North Texas tornadoes," said Foster, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross. "It speaks volumes to the gravity of the situation when you realize that 11 days later, we're still in the emergency relief phase of an operation. That means people are still relying on the Red Cross for a safe place to sleep at night, they're relying on us for meals and snacks."
Then there's toiletries and tools – the needs are still great. Foster says that means their response has to be great as well.
The Red Cross has already sent four 18-wheelers full of supplies to North Texas communities. It has also mobilized more than 450 volunteers at both the Arlington warehouse and in the field.
"That number will grow exponentially by the time we're done," said Foster.
But that could still be weeks away, which is why the Red Cross continues to ask for the public's support.
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"The donor dollars are what allow us to put these items right back on the shelves in our warehouse," said Foster.
Foster said money donations help them provide relief the most efficiently because they're able to buy new supplies in bulk, already boxed.
"Then we're able to put them on pallets, get them shrink-wrapped, and move them to wherever they need to go quickly," said Foster.
She encourages people who want to donate clothing or other specific items to give them to another relief organization.
She said the Red Cross is also looking for more volunteers. To learn more about how to become a volunteer click on the link.