Special to The Dallas Examiner

The city of Dallas opened a “mega shelter” in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center to house up to 5,000 individuals, as well as three shelters at Tommie Allen Recreation Center at 7071 Bonnie View Road, Walnut Hill Recreation Center at 10011 Midway Road and Samuel Grand Recreation Center at 6200 E. Grand Ave., to help Gulf Coast residents who have evacuated to Dallas.

Office of Emergency Management director Rocky Vaz said Dallas received a formal request from the state to have the convention center ready to take in evacuees by Tuesday morning.

“We have been advised by the state to be prepared for up to 5,000 evacuees, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to accommodate our fellow Texans who may need assistance,” he said.

The shelter is in the center’s parking garage level and should not affect events or shows currently booked.

Many city departments, Red Cross, Dallas County, Parkland Hospital, the Salvation Army, Children’s Hospital and numerous volunteer agencies and organizations worked diligently to hammer out the logistics to have the shelter up and running and ready to take in guests on time.

The shelter will also provide clinic and medical services. Walmart will work with medical staff and individuals to fill and deliver prescriptions from its pharmacies.

By 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the convention center mega shelter had 227 guests. More families arrived overnight. An official count is pending. However, city officials expect many more to arrive by personal vehicles and eventually by buses.

The shelter at Walnut Hill Recreation Center opened on Aug. 25 and is currently at full capacity with 290 guests, and the Tommie Allen Recreation Center’s shelter had 123 guests by press time. The city plans for those evacuees to remain at the centers for the time being.

The North Texas Food Bank will provide snacks for evacuees. Volunteer opportunities to assist in shelters and with feeding are now available through http://voly.org.

To help evacuees with pets, two AKC Pet Disaster Relief Trailers have been deployed to shelters. The Cedar Hill trailer is at the Dallas mega shelter and the Fort Worth AKC Pet Disaster Relief Trailer is at the emergency shelter set up at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in Fort Worth. These trailers house and deliver essential, non-perishable supplies to create a safe, temporary shelter for up to 65 pets.

For people interested in donating, Dallas County VOAD member Trusted World will accept new underwear, new socks, new warm-ups for men, women, children and infants, toiletries/hygiene products, baby formula and baby wipes, bottles, diapers and the Graco Pac n’ Plays for babies to sleep in. The donations center will open daily from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 15660 N. Dallas Parkway, just north of Arapaho on the north side of the Parkway. Follow the signs to drop off donations.

The American Red Cross has launched a massive relief response to this devastating storm and has announced that it needs financial donations to be able to provide immediate disaster relief. Donations to help the Red Cross’ continuous effects can be made by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-27677), visiting http://www.redcross.org, or by texting HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.

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