As Hurricane Irma continues to close in on the southeastern portion of the United States (and Hurricane Jose expected to follow!), we can find some solace in knowing that members of American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) — and all of The American Legion Family — will likely lend a helping hand during recovery in areas devastated by these monster storms.
We’ve already seen Legion Family members leap into action, providing bottled water, food, cleaning supplies, plus other necessities and assistance in southeastern Texas following the extensive damage left by Hurricane Harvey.
Numerous American Legion posts in the area have become collection and distribution centers for water, food, and supplies. Some posts have become places where evacuees and emergency workers can get meals.
Truckloads of donated items have been pouring in to southeastern Texas from the The American Legion Family in various parts of our nation! Another truckload will soon be headed down to Texas from The American Legion Department Headquarters in Indiana. Among the many donations on board will be contributions from the American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters.
There are lots of ALA and Legion Family members helping any way they can. Here are just a few examples …
In the Houston suburb of Pasadena, American Legion Post and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 521 became a major distribution center that served members and the entire community, according to ALA member and Past National President Carlene Ashworth. Unit 521 President Diane King and other Auxiliary volunteers worked diligently to help set up and man the makeshift center.
Elizabeth Moore, district president from Unit 499 in Galena Park, a suburb east of Houston, delivered supplies to members in her area whose homes were flooded.
Sandi Schendel, president of the ALA 14th District in Texas, and Mary Tatman, district president from Unit 817 in Beaumont, have been major players in the coordination of relief efforts and distribution of water, food, and cleaning supplies to people in their communities. The 14th District covers some of the most heavily affected locations south and southwest of Houston.
The American Legion Family at Post 113 in Lufkin, Texas, has been working closely with Post 33 in Beaumont to coordinate relief efforts. One member set up a distribution center at her home in Lumberton, near Beaumont. Donated and purchased food, water, cleaning supplies, and other items from Lufkin and the makeshift distribution center in Lumberton are being trucked into the Beaumont area. “The next wave of assistance here is likely to be school supplies, as several schools have flooded,” said Rita Redd, president of Unit 113.
Although not directly in harm’s way of Hurricane Harvey, ALA Department President of Texas Donna Dillard, of North Texas has contacted many of the units, individual members, and district presidents to make sure they are OK.
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where The American Legion Family has a presence, are reeling after being rocked recently by Hurricane Irma. ALA National Headquarters staff have been in contact with ALA units in Puerto Rico Friday afternoon, and are attempting to contact units in the U.S. Virgin Islands — despite widespread power and phone service outages. Needs there are still being assessed, as the Caribbean region readies itself for Hurricane Jose.
Interested in helping those in need? Check with your local American Legion posts or ALA units for possible opportunities to volunteer or donate to the cause.
Also: Don’t forget to spread the word about the Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF) for ALA members who have endured a significant financial setback resulting from an act of nature, weather emergency, or a personal crisis.
With widespread devastation from Hurricane Harvey, plus what is anticipated from Hurricane Irma — and possibly from Hurricane Jose, the AEF application process has been expedited. Visit www.ALAforveterans.org for more information.