SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A Santa Barbara woman is the force behind a non-profit sending a shipment of life-saving shelters to Harvey-ravaged communities in Texas and communities along the Gulf Coast.
"The end is not near and the need is massive," Kerri Murray told NewsChannel 3 Tuesday afternoon via Skype from Dallas, Texas regarding the Harvey crisis.
Murray, the former Vice President of Goleta-based Direct Relief, is President of ShelterBox, a non-profit that assists in global disaster relief.
"For an organization like Shelter Box, we're preparing every single day for the worst day ever and this is the reason we exist," Murray said. "And this is the worst day ever here, and we're going to do everything we can and we're not leaving until we help people here in the state of Texas."
Murray and her Texas-based response team are coordinating with FEMA to have hundreds of tents, blankets and school kits shipped to help families and individuals impacted by days of flooding and devastation. She estimates potentially 30,000 people are or will be in need of sheltering, on top of tens of thousands of additional evacuations.
"We come in and help fill the gaps and the gaps in this emergency are enormous," Murray said. "As a charitable organization, we provide and focus on life-saving shelter and emergency supplies to help literally keep families together."
Murray said for those in California wanting to help, she recommends finding a great charitable organization working on the ground, coordinating locally (in impacted states) and supporting their needs.
"You see in these devastating tough times, you see the best qualities of our species. We're hearing people being rescued by the dozens in everything from jet skiis to flat boats to dump trucks. It's really people coming together. It's really just the power of the human spirit and all of us to really just help each other out."
Along with the Harvey crisis, the non-profit is also assisting eight countries impacted by conflict and famine, including Syria and Iraq.
For more information, visit shelterboxusa.org.