Partnerships form to help evacuees find shelter, food in Hays County

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN)– Dozens of evacuees from Hurricane Laura are settling in Hays County, for now.

KXAN spoke to a hotel owner who says they are sold out of rooms.

Partnerships have also formed to help take care of evacuees in Hays County.

“We were rushed. They told us to take one bag … We had to move fast,” says Opirite Asemebo, a freshman at Lamar University in Beaumont.

She is among roughly 70 students who were bussed to Texas State University Tuesday evening.

Asemebo and fellow freshman Victoria Adelagun had never experienced a hurricane evacuation before this.

“I was nervous at first. I just started packing everything, I didn’t know what was going on,” Adelagun says.

Even with online classes, Hurricane Laura presents another hurdle.

“I had a history class this morning and she was not online. But, I had a stats class — she was available,” Asemebo says.

They hope their full virtual schedule will return to normal in a week.

Help for those off campus

While Texas State and Lamar University have partnered to help house student evacuees, others are partnering to help those settling off-campus in Hays County.

Lamar University students. (Courtesy Texas State University)
Lamar University students. (Courtesy Texas State University)

“I would say that the response that we’re doing today is similar to what we saw during Harvey,” says Derrick Chubbs, president of the Central Texas Food Bank.

But unlike 2017, there’s a new challenge as the group partners with the American Red Cross.

“These are unprecedented times, and our resources are already stretched pretty thin due to the pandemic,” Chubbs says.

He says they’ve already provided 150 prepared meals for evacuees staying at designated hotels in Hays County.

“We have to maintain social distancing in the kitchen, so we cannot produce as many meals as we would normally be able to produce,” Chubbs says.

The food bank has also committed to serving up to 1,000 meals a day as needed for evacuees.

That’s on top of their normal operations, including weekly food donations across 21 counties.

They say the best way to help is to donate online so they can buy the type of food needed most.

While Asemebeo and Adelegun are worried about their dorms back home, they’re trying to think of this as a field trip.

“I’m more excited, adventuring here,” Adelagun says.

“Yeah, a new experience,” says Asemebo.

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