Harvey evacuees pour into Dallas: Here’s how you can help

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DALLAS -- "We've got a lot of personal stories here, and we want to make sure they're taken care of."

Those were the words of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings Sunday in front of the Walnut Hill Recreation Center in Dallas. After all, whether we're talking evacuees, rescues, shelters, or hurricanes, it all comes down to people's live.

The number of evacuees bedding down in temporary Dallas shelters is staying low as waters continue to rise to our South.

"It could be as big as Katrina in terms of financial loss and damage and that kind of thing," Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Commander Jonathan Rich told NewsFix Sunday, expanding to say even though we only have about 300 evacuees now, that number could easily swell past 1,000.

It's important in the face of this historic natural disaster to remember that every one of these people has a story and a life they left behind.

"We don't know. We don't know what to expect," Katy evacuee Oracio Alderete said. "Are we going to have a job to come back to, or a house to go to?"

The Alderetes loaded up their family, including a 13-month-old and a dog, and left their basically new home in the rear view. They're thankful for their baby girl, Samantha, though. If it wasn't for her, they might be stuck in the danger zone hoping for rescue.

"If we didn't have the baby, we'd maybe wait another day or two," Mr. Alderete said. "I've heard a lot of bad experiences with people trying to leave late, and I've heard bad experiences when people stay."

Dallas was their destination, Walnut Hill Rec Center to be exact. It was the first one opened in Big D for the storm, followed by Tommie Allen Rec Center, and now...

"We've got to prepare for the next level," Mayor Rawlings said. "Because of that, we are working on opening Samuell Grand Rec Center."

Even the family dog has a place to wait out the storm.

"The SPCA of Texas is also helping evacuees of Hurricane Harvey by helping take in their pets and caring for them," SPCA of Texas Vice President of Communication Maura Davies said.

The helpers are bountiful, but there are ways you can join too.

Want to donate items? Take your things to:

Trusted World: 15660 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75248

Interested in volunteering? You can serve meals for Salvation Army.

Find more information at: salvationarmydfw.org

Want to donate cash? That might be the most helpful thing at this point. You can give to either:

-- or --

  • American Red Cross: redcross.org or text "HARVEY" to 90999 to donate $10

"Other places don't want to help, and Dallas, right away," Alderete said. "That's nice. Thank you, Dallas."

It will absolutely make a difference.