Mendez MS hosts recovery fair for flood victims

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on December 17, 2013 at 11:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 17 at 11:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Instead of colorful lights and Christmas decor, the yards on Ladybug Street in Southeast Austin are filled with debris.

"It's a ghost town right now," said Mike Espinoza, whose home was flooded on Oct. 31. "There's nobody out here. There's maybe just one or two families."

On Halloween morning, rain drenched Austin, and water from Onion Creek invaded nearby neighborhoods, damaging hundreds of homes.

Six weeks later, home owners are still trying to pick up the pieces.

"Very frustrating, very confusing and almost overwhelming, you know. What to do, you know," Espinoza said.

"It's been pretty devastating," said Shalonda Brown. "I'm a single mom of three girls, so I've always provided for them, so this is the first time that I've been able not to provide for them, and we're totally homeless."

The staff at Mendez Middle School answered the cries of help from their neighbors, hosting a flood disaster recovery fair Tuesday night.

"What we did is contacted out partners in the city, the county and our faith-based partners to come out and basically provide the services and information that will assist our families," said Leonor Vargas, director of the Mendez Family Resource Center.

Children who needed flu vaccines got them. Families who needed food were given boxes full of food, along with blankets, toys and backpacks. Even the school's guitar group was on hand to lift spirits with music.

"It's awesome just seeing the community and having people still think about us," said Marquel Davis, who lost her home in the flood.

"The help that we do have, it's much appreciated," said Brown. 

"It's a definite plus whenever you have people who care show up and just show love to the community and support, because we do need it," Espinoza said. 

Family Resource Center officials say flood victims who can't go home need help finding affordable housing. And those that are here need heaters, blankets and other household supplies.

The Dove Springs Neighborhood Association is accepting donations to help residents. To contact the organization, email area78744@gmail.com.

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