Where Is Your Money Going To?

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Tyrone and Maria Johnson evacuated from Louisiana almost two weeks ago. They didn't bring much, because they didn't expect to be gone long. So now they're counting on local agencies to help them get back on their feet.

"They helped us out with getting gift cards to go to Wal-Mart to get food and gas and clothing. We only packed for three days, this is the longest we've ever had to evacuate for, so they helped us out in a big way like that," says Johnson.

The Red Cross has been staying busy giving out vouchers to evacuees in our area.

Director Sharon Zambrzycki says not all donations stay here, unless you specifically request for them to. Also, local donations not only help evacuees, but other disaster services as well.

"All ongoing disaster needs continue. We know there's gonna be ongoing needs with folks who are staying here in the local areas. If they are specific about where and how they want their donation to the American Red Cross to go, that will be honored," says Sharon.

One hundred percent of all donations given to the United Way stay right here. Evacuees get $20 gift cards to shop for groceries and necessities.

Hank Roraback is with the United Way of the Brazos Valley. He says this is short term money for immediate needs.

"The monies we raised you're thinking you've raised $125,000 and giving out $20 a person that's not a lot, but really the intention is there's all kinds of places you can get donated clothes and furniture major things to get you by for now. But this is wow, thanks for toothpaste somebody gave me but I want to get the kind that I like," says Hank.

Since Hurricane Katrina hit two weeks ago, the Red Cross has collected about $160,000 and spent more than $200,000 already. United Way has approximately $125,000 donated and $85,000 of that has already been spent.

"Because people have been so generous in donating clothes and shoes and personal items and household items. We're encouraging people to look into that before they spend their vouchers, so they can use their vouchers for specific needs a particular family has," says Sharon.

So while the local agencies will continue to help how they can, it’s the generosity of the community that's encouraging families to stay.