A woman in Texas has claimed that when she tried to distribute 400 hamburgers to Hurricane Harvey victimsFriday at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Nederland, Texas, she encountered unexpected resistance from two very rude Red Cross workers.
“This is Lindsey Scott, and I’m astonished at the behavior of the Red Cross husband/wife team at the mid-county Jack Brooks airport yesterday,” she wrote Saturday on the Facebook page of her sister, Jamie Mitchell Matuska.
“Who together accosted me and took turns berating me because I was trying to bring 400 warm hamburgers to our hungry evacuees, who according to them did not need the food because they had ‘already had a sandwhich,’” her post continued. “Yes, they had 1 sandwhich in 24 hours. They were desperate for a hot meal!”
She then watched in horror as the Red Cross husband/wife team “proceeded to try and load the warm, ready to eat burgers into an ice chest.”
“I confess I just stood there with my mouth gaping open, fighting back tears while they told me that I did not know what I was doing and they had not even seen me volunteering,” she wrote.
But it gets worse. The Red Cross team then left, leaving her stuck with figuring out another way to feed new evacuees who arrived through the night and “had not eaten in 24 hours.”
“They were not there when the sun came up and they woke up hungry, angry, tired, scared, and frustrated,” she wrote. “They did not see them fighting over donuts that OUR friends and family answered the call to bring at 7:00 am.”
Nor were they there when she teamed up with local community members and the Sky Hope Network to deliver a new batch of food and supplies to the frustrated evacuees.
Questioned by the admittedly sketchy fact-checking website Snopes regarding these claims, Red Cross’ national spokeswoman Jenelle Eli submitted a statement this week alleging that the husband/wife team avoided serving the burgers because of safety concerns.
“The safety of the people we serve is our first and utmost priority,” she said. “Our volunteers and workers on the ground may not be perfect, but they are all working with the best of intentions and to the best of their ability.”
However, Matuska has disputed this, telling Snopes that nobody from Red Cross told her sister about any safety concerns.
“The Red Cross’s position was that (evacuees) had already eaten a sandwich … (they) didn’t (appear) to be concerned about safety (because) they (placed the hamburgers) into an ice chest to save for later,” she wrote to Snopes. “There were problems the entire time they were there with them not wanting volunteers to distribute things.”
So what really happened? Given the Red Cross’ notorious history of lies, I’m apt to believe events played out exactly as Scott described. If you’re looking to give money to a charity for hurricane victims, it’s probably best to consider reputable charities like the Houston Food Bank or Samaritan’s Purse.