HOPE Helps Jacksonville Evacuees

About 400 evacuees are staying in Jacksonville, and that number could increase as more people from Louisiana head into Texas.

Right now, the American Red Cross has not set up a shelter in Jacksonville, but another organization has stepped in to help. They are called HOPE, Helping Others Pursue Enrichment, and that is exactly what volunteers at HOPE are doing.

"HOPE acts as a clearing house for all the hurricane victims," said Fran Daniel, Executive Director. "When we first found out there were so many of them here we called a meeting for some of the leaders of the community, some of the social service agencies and started developing what resources we have in the community." Daniel says they have been serving breakfast and lunch for the evacuees. They are also helping them contact FEMA. The American Red Cross has not set up a shelter in Jacksonville because the current shelters are not full.

"We have many shelters here available for them," said Susan Campbell, American Red Cross. "We have not activated them because we have not needed to." Daniel says they are directing those staying in Jacksonville to the shelters in Tyler and Longview. Right now, she says, HOPE is doing everything they can to help those evacuees in their community.

"This community has rallied and that's why when we saw when we couldn't get immediate help from other agencies we had to take it on ourselves and they've done this in a very gracious manner," said Daniel. She also says they will continue to help and they hope every evacuee will soon have a new place to live.

HOPE still needs more supplies. They made a list of things the evacuees say they need. Right now they are asking for non-perishable food items and personal hygiene products. All donations can be dropped off at the hope center. For more information call HOPE at (903) 586-7781.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com