Where you can give, get help

By Advocate Staff
Aug. 25, 2017 at 10:59 a.m.
Updated Oct. 10, 2017 at 11:40 a.m.

Karma Martinez, 7, picks up a box full of items to organize on a donation table at the St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Bloomington.

Karma Martinez, 7, picks up a box full of items to organize on a donation table at the St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Bloomington.   Tom Martinez for The Victoria Advocate

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Victoria Responds

Call Center

  • A single phone call will connect donors, volunteers and affected individuals or families of Hurricane Harvey with the resources they need. The number is 361-433-2785 and will connect to the Victoria Responds Call Center. The line will be answered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The original volunteer/donation line also can be used for now, 361-580-5790, and will be answered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Affected individuals and families should pre-register with both FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 and the American Red Cross at 1-866-526-8300.

How You Can Give

  • Erica Briggs has started a gofundme account to purchase air mattresses for children in Bloomington and the surrounding area to cover their immediate needs of not sleeping on the floor. Ashley Furniture is also partnering with the effort to provide beds through its Hope to Dream program for future needs to provide permanent beds to children once their homes are repaired. You may donate to this cause at gofundme.com/kids-should-


  • Lacks Furniture has set up donation stations at all three of its Galleria stores in McAllen, Brownsville and Laredo to collect nonperishable food, water and supplies for families affected by Hurricane Harvey. To learn more about how you can contribute, visit the Lacks Facebook page or bit.ly/LacksHurricaneRelief.
  • Official GoFundMe page to support the unmet needs of residents who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey: Visit gofundme.com/victoria-tx-disaster-relief-fund.
  • The Red Cross is greatly in need of volunteers to help with warehousing, shelter management, supply distribution and administrative support. Those interested in volunteering may register at redcross.org/volunteer.
  • Farmers and ranchers seeking Natural Resources Conservation Service financial and technical assistance can sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office or if already a USDA client, on-line via Conservation Client Gateway nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/cgate/.
  • The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. The Red Cross is helping with immediate needs at redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey or call 1-800-HELP-NOW.
  • Perpetual Help Home and the Center for Peace residents were able to safely evacuate before the storm; however, the nonprofit’s facilities didn’t fare so well. The roofs on both the main home and the center sustained damage. Perpetual Help Home is a Christian-based restorative justice organization assisting women in breaking the cycle of incarceration and homelessness. Donate online at perpetualhelphome.org.
  • The Victoria County United Way is accepting donations to help local residents with contributions to partner agencies for disaster relief and emergency food and housing. Unitedwayvictoria.org/help. Executive Director Dolly Stokes said the office phones have been down, but people also can text “Victoria” to 313131 to donate online.
  • All H-E-B grocery stores, including Central Market and Joe V’s Smart Shop stores across Texas, have begun a statewide tear pad campaign offering customers an opportunity to support victims by donating in increments of $1, $3 or $5 at the check stand. All monies collected from the tear pad campaign, as well as a $100,000 donation from H-E-B, will benefit the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Feeding Texas.
  • Food Bank of the Golden Crescent directly by visiting victoriafoodbank.org/get-involved/donations/. If you prefer, a check can be sent to FBGC with “Hurricane Harvey relief” in the memo line: 3809 E. Rio Grande St., Victoria, TX 77901. You can also promote the fundraising campaign by sharing this on your Facebook. For more information, contact 361-655-1607 or 361-578-0591 or rcadle@ feedingamerica.org.
  • Donations accepted at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 814 N. San Antonio St., in Port Lavaca.
  • To volunteer or offer donations, call the Volunteer Hotline at 361-580-5790.
  • Donations are still being accepted at Faith Family Church. Hours for dropping off items are 8 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m., weekends. Volunteers are still needed as well. Many shifts are available!
  • How You Can Get Help

    Get food for the homebound

    • Victoria County Senior Citizens Center, 603 Murray St., 576-2189, open weekdays, 7 a.m. 3o 3 p.m.
    • Community Action Agency, 4007 Halsey St., 361-578-2989, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • The American Red Cross has emergency response vehicles taking meals to those in need in the impacted areas; anyone can flag a van down.
    • Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, 361-578-0591, has added more distributions sites including mobile distribution Visit tfbgc.org , for more information.

    Clothing and household supplies

    • Mid-Cost Family Services, 120 S. Main St., Suite 175, 361-575-7842, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Restoratipn House Ministries, 1204 N. Moody, 361-237-0500, Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry, 108 N. Liberty St., 361-572-0048, weekdays, 9 a.m. to noon.

    Financial Assistance

    • American Red Cross, financial assistance will be online shortly; details to be provided
    • Community Action Agency, 4007 Halsey St.; 361-578-2989; weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Mid-Coast Family Services, 120 S. Main, Suite 175, 361-575-7842;weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Disaster Recovery

  • Area residents who have questions about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s application for individual assistance will have an opportunity to get answers at a FEMA Q&A hosted by Victoria College. The free event will take place at 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the VC Student Center, accessible from VC’s main entrance off Red River St. Representatives from FEMA will provide information on eligibility, the application process, deadlines for applying for individual assistance and the appeal process. There will also be presentations by the Small Business Administration, Texas General Land Office and Texas Workforce Commission. FEMA’s Voluntary Assistance Liaisons will also provide an update on assistance offered by other organizations. A separate event for VC and UHV students and employees will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

  • A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is in Victoria at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St. The center is open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. FEMA is recommending people apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.
  • FEMA Disaster Recovery Center open at Calhoun County Library, 200 W. Mahan St., Port Lavaca. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
  • FEMA Mobile Disaster Recovery Center now open at 911 Navigation Circle, Rockport. Available 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, as needed.
  • FEMA Mobile Disaster Recovery Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m daily, at Edna High School Football Stadium, 1303 West Gayle St. in Edna.

Help with Filing Insurance Claims

  • Representatives with AllState, State Farm and The Hartford are in the Home Depot parking lot, 6708 N.E. Zac Lentz Parkway from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to assist policy holders with filing insurance claims and answer insurance questions.
  • Shelter/Housing locations
  • The American Red Cross manages urgent response preparations for Hurricane Harvey. For a list of open shelters, please visit redcross.org. The information will evolve, so you may wish to check back as you are able.
  • FEMA provides eligible applicants access to a list of approved hotels in their area, and applicants may choose to stay at any approved hotel or facility identified by FEMA. The list of approved hotels is available at femaevachotels.com/index.php or the FEMA Helpline.
    • Salvation Army, 1306 N. Louise St. No. 361-576-1299; weekdays from 11:30 a.m.m to 3:30 p.m.
    • Mid-Coast Family Services, 361-575-7842
    • Perpetual Help Home, 361-575-5335.

    Counseling Services

    • Gulf Bend Center STAR Family Services, 361-575-0611, mental health services for aduts and children
    • Community in Schools, 361-576-5872, for middle and high school students.
    • First United Methodist Church, 361-578-2701, counselor on site, call for an appointment.

    Tax Relief After a Disaster

    • The IRS provides tax relief to survivors of disasters. Find out if you qualify by visiting irs.gov/uac/tax- relief-in-disaster-situations.
    • Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits. Visit the Texas Workforce Commission website to see if you are eligible.

    Severe Storm and Flood Recovery Assistance

  • The U.S. Department of Labor assists in recovery efforts in the communities affected by severe storms, floods and other disasters. For questions and assistance, call DOL’s National Contact Center at 1-866-487-2365.
  • Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents

  • SNAP Card (food stamps): Call the Lonestar helpdesk toll-free at 1-800-777-7328.
  • Green Cards: Call 800-375-5283.
  • Birth and Death Certificates: Call 888-963-7111.
  • Texas Driver’s License: Call 512-424-2600.


  • Christ’s Kitchen, 611 E. Warren Ave., serving hot meals. The program’s hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Saturday. They also help with other needs as resources permit.
  • The Guerilla Gourmet, located at 311 E. Constitution, is offering a pay what you can option on its menu.
  • The Salvation Army Incident Command in Victoria will serve meals and distribute canned goods, personal hygiene items, diapers and cleaning supplies at the following locations: 11 a.m. Sept. 25, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Bloomington; 2 p.m. Sept. 26, Placedo Volunteer Fire Department, Placedo; 11 a.m. Sept. 27, Seadrift Civic Center, Seadrift; 2 p.m. Sept. 28, Bauer Community Center, Port Lavaca, and Shay Plaza, Refugio; 9 a.m. Sept. 30, Community Center, Austwell; and 5 p.m. Oct. 2, City Square, Woodsboro.
  • Son Valley Ranch has pallets of water located by the front gate, available for Victoria residents. Pickups may be made each day only after 6:00pm.
  • Cleanup/Other Help

  • Samaritan’s Purse located at Faith Family Church is offering help to remove trees and tarps on roofs. Call 361-484-5437.

  • If you need assistance finding food or water, you may call Victoria Transit at 1-877-538-6819.



Earlier posts, which may be outdated:

Updated at 6:15 p.m.

The city's permit office will open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday for emergency repair permits.

Permits will be issued for repairs to home and businesses damaged by the hurricane.

A valid contractor’s license with the city is needed to perform work, including emergency repairs. Inspections will be performed.

Contractors wishing to apply for a license should contact the Development Center, located at 702 N. Main.

Please enter through the middle set of doors off the main parking lot to enter the building.

Updated at 11:42 a.m.

Victoria County United Way is accepting donations to help with long-term disaster relief. Go to unitedwayvictoria.org/help to donate.

Updated at 11:24 a.m.

The American Red Cross is opening a shelter at the Refugio Expo Fair Grounds and another shelter at the Woodsboro High School gym.

They are open and will accept people seeking shelter, said Debra Murphey-Luera, executive director of the American Red Cross of Coastal Bend.

Updated at 11:15 a.m.

A shelter has been set up at Cuero Intermediate School. The shelter has power, hot food, water, shower facilities and other supplies.

Updated at 8:15 p.m., Sunday

Shelly Sciba gave her 2-year-old daughter an extra hug before they boarded a charter bus to Austin from the St. Joseph High School FEMA dome shelter.

"At first I was nervous because it was just me and my daughter," Sciba, of Victoria, said. "I hope she falls asleep on the bus."

Sciba said she didn't have anywhere to go to weather the storm because she is homeless.

"I just got here today," she said. "I ran out of gas on the way over here."

American Red Cross officials tallied each person who left the dome's doors into the Sunday rain to leave for a safer shelter in Austin.

The Victoria shelter and the Bloomington ISD FEMA dome shelter will be closed and empty by midnight Sunday, said Dorothy Ballard, of American Red Cross.

“The Health Department said we could not operate because no water is a health problem,” she said. “We are also in a flooding area.”

The people with critical health needs were taken first; then, families and singles were next.

About 20 buses came from San Antonio and Austin to take the evacuees to another shelter in those cities.

No more residents will be accepted into the shelters, Ballard said.

“We will be closed by midnight,” she said. "We’ll find their way back.”

Sciba said she will feel safer taking the bus to another shelter.

"I hope that their predictions are right," she said. "I am trusting in them."

Updated at 1:32 p.m., Sunday

The city of Victoria was hammered by Hurricane Harvey and needs volunteers to help distribute supplies to our citizens. If you are interested, call our volunteer headquarters at 361-580-5790.

Updated at 4:30 p.m.

More than 1,400 people took refuge from the Hurricane Harvey in 24 Red Cross and community shelters, according to a press release from the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross is working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners in both Texas and Louisiana to coordinate potential response efforts.

Shelters are on stand-by in Arkansas for people who may evacuate into the state and the Red Cross is working with officials there to coordinate any response that may be needed.

There are hundreds of Red Cross volunteers from across the country on the ground now to support our shelters, and thousands more will be asked to deploy in the weeks to come as people begin to recover from the storm.

The Red Cross has tractor-trailer loads of relief supplies in the region, enough to support more than 20,000 people for weeks. The supplies include cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits and cleaning supplies.

The Red Cross is also mobilizing its disaster partners to support feeding, child care, disaster assessment and other disaster services.

More than 125 Red Cross Emergency Response vehicles are activated with 232 additional enroute.

Updated at 10 a.m. Sunday

There are 216 people seeking shelter in the Bloomington ISD FEMA Dome.

A generator is set up because the town of Bloomington is without power, said Debra Murphey-Luera, executive director of the American Red Cross of Coastal Bend.

The St. Paul shelter in Yorktown had no one stay overnight, she said.

Officials are getting requests to set up independent shelters from areas in the entire Coastal Bend area, she said.

As the need arises and the areas are safe to get into, the Red Cross will be set up, she said.

Murphey-Luera said she is seeking volunteers to help support the relief effort in all areas.

Call 1-800-733-2767 or visit redcross.org to volunteer.

“Dress comfortably,” she said. “Be prepared to work long hours.”

Updated at 9 a.m. Saturday

There are 320 people as of midnight Friday sheltered in the St. Joseph FEMA Dome, said Debra Murphey-Luera, executive director of the American Red Cross of Coastal Bend.

“With the power outages, the shelter does have a generator, she said.

Anxiety is the atmosphere in the shelter, she said. However, they are managing well under the circumstances.

There was one health emergency that was managed, she said.

“We are expecting to get additional Red Cross volunteers as support,” Murphey-Luera said.

The shelter will still accept people seeking shelter, she said.

“Now that it’s light, emergency management is out and about doing initial driving,” she said. “If it’s safe to go out, we are assessing them.”

Updated at 8:50 a.m.

A total of 88 residents from a Victoria nursing home were evacuated to a San Antonio sister facility early Friday morning.

“We just wanted to give our residents a better sense of security in the situation,” said Justin Falley, director of marketing and admission at Retama Manor.

The Retama Manor residents and 22 staff members are taking refuge at the Alamo Heights Health and Rehabilitation.

Falley said the staff started evacuation activities as of 8 p.m. Thursday, shortly after the mandatory evacuation was announced by Victoria officials.

He said residents were given a choice if they wanted to evacuate with them or with their families. Three ended up evacuating with their families.

The first 54 residents were picked up about 2:40 p.m. Friday and the second set of 34 were picked up about 12:40 p.m. Everyone was had arrived at the San Antonio facility by 4:30 p.m.

Falley said the staff was mostly worried about flooding issues and water coming into the facility because they “have a draining system in the back.”

The staff from the San Antonio facility is supplying the residents with food and are volunteering to pick up extra shifts to assist the Victoria staff.

People who have family members who are residents at Retama Manor can call 410-773-2222 or 800-545-5909, access code 2222.

For now the staff is working on providing the residents with the care they require and deserve, Falley said.

“We will be here until we know it is safe to come back to Victoria,” Falley said.

Updated at 6:06 p.m.

Hurricane Harvey upgrades to Category 4. Expected to make landfall in Port Aransas by 6 p.m. Friday.

Updated at 5:57 p.m.

Updated at 4:40 p.m.

Both shelters in Victoria County are at capacity.

Updated at 2:00 p.m.

Harvey has strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane.

Updated at 1:45 p.m.

PORT LAVACA – Port Lavaca police continued to drive around Friday, warning residents that Hurricane Harvey will be catastrophic.

Eighteen officers and six dispatchers are working. Chief Colin Rangnow said they will not be able to respond to emergencies once the winds reach 40 mph.

He expects Harvey to make landfall Friday night or early Saturday between Corpus Christi or Aransas Pass as a category 3.

He said it is expected to rain anywhere between 15 and 35 inches with a storm surge between 6 and 12 feet.

"It's going to be long and drawn out," Rangnow said, "Then, after that, what is the city going to look like?"

Updated at 1:32 p.m.

VICTORIA – The sound of nervous voices and telephones ringing is audible from through the walls of an empty conference room at the Victoria emergency operations center, where top public officials have gathered to prepare for Hurricane Harvey.

More than 200 people have crowded into the building, which is the temporary home of officials who must make split-second decisions in the midst of the storm.

Lt. Bryan Simons, a spokesman for the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, said officials will be releasing updates twice a day during the storm.

Just two hours earlier, the National Hurricane Center has issued another update on Hurricane Harvey, warning residents of deadly flooding after the storm makes landfall.

Little has changed in the storm forecast since earlier this morning, when emergency officials said the storm could reach a Category 3 hurricane with winds around 130 mph by the time it reaches Texas. The storm is expected to hit the coast late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

In the meantime, Victoria’s government officials are busy working at the county’s emergency operations office. City and county officials say they will update the public about the storm within the next hour.

City spokesman O.C. Garza said there's a rumor circulating among some residents that electricity provider AEP may turn off power, but that isn't true.

Updated at 1:30 p.m.

Harvey remains a Category 2 hurricane, the National Weather Service reported in its latest update. It is still forecast to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane.

All residents in the path are encouraged to shelter in place. Tropical force winds are beginning along coastal counties.

Harvey now carries 110 mph winds. Winds along the coast now are gusting at 56 mph. The center of the storm is 85 miles southwest of Corpus Christi.

The forecast calls for landfall just east of Corpus Friday night, the storm still could wobble east or west, the weather service said.

Areas at greatest risk are where storm surges could reach 6 to 12 feet above ground level from near Mustang Island to Port O'Connor.

Life-threatening storm surge inundation expected to begin Friday afternoon and peak Friday night into Saturday.

Updated at 1:28 p.m.

CenterPoint Energy issues important natural gas safety tips. They are as follows:

  • Do not turn off your natural gas service at the meter; doing so could allow water to enter the natural gas lines.
  • Be alert for the smell of natural gas. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to leave, too.
  • If you smell gas, do not turn the lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off. Once safely away from the area, call 888-876-5786 and CenterPoint Energy will send a trained service technician.
  • If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure they are in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor gas appliances including pool heaters, gas grills and gas lights.
  • Before cleaning debris, digging on your property or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, call 811, the nationwide Call Before You Dig number.
  • Be aware of where your natural gas meter is located. As debris is put out for heavy trash pickup, make sure it is placed away from the meter. In many areas the meter may be located near the curb. If debris is near a gas meter, the mechanized equipment used by trash collectors could pull up the meter, damaging it and causing a potentially hazardous situation. If this happens, leave the area immediately and call CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786.

Updated at 1:03 p.m.

Updated at 12:19 p.m.

From a news release

On Friday, Aug. 25, some Texas Gulf Coast area U.S. Post Offices under emergency evacuation orders, with the first three ZIP Code digits beginning with 779, 783 and 784, may be closed on Friday and/or Saturday. There will be no mail delivery, mail collections or retail services available in some of these locations until evacuation orders are cancelled and postal facilities can be safely accessed by customers and employees.

In anticipation of severe storm conditions upon the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, the mail processing plant in Corpus Christi will shut down operations at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, Aug. 25, and will not be accepting drop shipments. The Corpus Christi Processing & Distribution Center expects to resume full operations at 6 a.m., Sunday morning, Aug. 27.

Updated at 11:38 p.m.

Updated at 9:03 a.m.

With Hurricane Harvey expected to make landfall in the next 24 hours, County Judge Ben Zeller is urging residents to leave Victoria if they haven’t already.

“If they are able to leave now, I would still encourage folks to leave,” said Zeller on Friday morning. “The farther away from the storm the better.”

Victoria County issued a mandatory evacuation Thursday evening, demanding residents leave the area before feet of rain and winds more than 100 mph hit the region.

As of Friday morning, residents only have a couple more hours before dangerous winds reach the area, he said. Estimates project there could be 40 mph sustained winds starting around noon, which will continue to worsen.

On Thursday evening, city officials warned residents that first responders aren’t able to respond to crises when sustained winds reach more than 40 mph.

Original Story

Harvey upgraded to Category 2 status Friday morning with maximum sustained winds at 105 mph.

There have been no changes in hurricane or storm surge warnings, according to a news release sent out by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

Hurricane Harvey is still forecast to strengthen and make landfall as a category 3 hurricane tonight.

Earliest onset of tropical storm force winds to begin later this morning, with hurricane force winds as early as this afternoon.

Life-threatening storm surge inundation expected along mid coast of 6 to 12 feet above ground level.

Rainfall totals north and east of a line from Port Aransas to Goliad 20-30 inches with isolated higher maximum. Life-threatening, devastating, record flooding expected.

Isolated tornadoes possible beginning later this morning.

  • Hurricane Warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to Sargent
  • Storm Surge Warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to High Island
  • Flash Flood Watch is in effect for most of South TX
  • Forecast to reach major hurricane strength with max sustained winds 120 mph near the storm center.

    Impacts felt across all the mid Texas coast and inland portions of South Texas.

    Hurricane force winds are likely to persist into Saturday evening.

    Tropical storm force winds then continue through Sunday morning and could last longer based on then meandering movement of Harvey.

    CRP 4 Am Harvey Briefing 08-25-17 by Victoria Advocate on Scribd



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