Help for Houston: Boston Helping Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

As the flood waters rise in Texas, so too does the need for help, and those who live in Massachusetts are answering the call.

On Monday, two more volunteers from the American Red Cross of Massachusetts headed to Houston in an emergency response vehicle. They will spend more than 30 hours on the road to serve the area hardest hit by Harvey.

"You just go," Jim Matheson, one of the volunteers, said. "This is important. It's critical. It's massive. How can you say no?"

Matheson will be joined by another volunteer, Linda Russell of Worcester. They will use the vehicle to hand out necessities, including food, water and cleaning supplies. They both have experience in disaster relief, having responded to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina.

"You learn that this can happen to anybody, and that you never know if tomorrow is going to be the day when you don't have a home," Russell said.

As of Monday, the Red Cross of Massachusetts had 22 volunteers heading to Texas. They will join members of the Coast Guard out of Cape Cod and Boston-based FEMA workers.

"I guess there are pharmacies that are closed and obviously people need medications, so were going to see about getting some of the bigger companies possibly having mobile pharmacies," Bruce Brodoff, an external affairs specialist for FEMA's Boston office, said after landing in Texas Monday.

While some are already there, others are waiting for the call. Gina Smith, the Director of Emergency Management Preparedness at UMass Memorial in Worcester, is a part of a disaster medical response team that could be asked to go at any moment. They also responded to Hurricane Katrina.

"We have the capabilities of providing triage and sorting patients that require medical care," Smith said.

Massachusetts is providing so many resources, the mayor of Houston took notice, thanking Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the help in a press conference Monday.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Texas," Walsh said in a statement. "So many are struggling during this challenging time. As we have done in other emergencies and which has been done for us, Boston will step up and help through the darkest hours."

Mayor Walsh is organizing a donation drive for Houston, collecting items like diapers and non-perishable food at city buildings through Thursday.

The Red Cross will begin offering training this week at their Cambridge office for anyone who has the time and the interest in volunteering on the ground.

There will be multiple locations, including the third floor lobby and fifth floor lobby in City Hall, the fifth floor of 1010 Massachusetts Ave. and the first floor lobby of 26 Court St. Click here for the full list of locations.

Meanwhile, experts are warning people who wish to donate money to be wary of scams.

The Better Business Bureau recommends donating to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Direct Relief, Humane Society of the United States, the United Way of Greater Houston and Save the Children. Click here for more national charities assisting in helping with the devastation.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced Monday that his team has pledged up to $1 million to help the Harvey recovery efforts as well, saying Houston is a special place to the team because it's where they had two Super Bowl victories.

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