Here we are again. Another hurricane has hit the U.S. Gulf Coast. The City of Houston, Galveston and all the way over to Beaumont and Port Arthur are devastated from Hurricane Ike.

The huge task at hand for emergency responders and state relief agencies is not just a problem on the Gulf, it is a problem statewide.

Local organizations have spent a lot of money and time to take care of victims and evacuees of these storms.

These evacuees are expected to be here for several days if not weeks.

Our local Salvation Army has fed numerous evacuees from Beaumont/Port Arthur and emergency crews staging in the area.

At the Smith County Chapter of the American Red Cross, they have given up their time and money to set up countless shelters to take care of the thousands of evacuees.

These organizations are stretched thin with the response to Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike.

Gustav delivered a test for East Texas emergency crews, but Ike was the real deal.

The national television networks and newspapers are in the process of leavingand now the attention will be focused on something else.

But these people and organizations still need help. It is time for the students, faculty and staff of TJC to stand up to this challenge and help out our neighbors, friends, family and people we have never metbefore out in the Houston/Galveston/Beaumont area.

Reports from that area are saying that it could be a week or even up to a month before power is fully restored to Southeast Texas.

It will be months to years before Galveston will be the same.

Buildings you and I remember from trips past are long gone, swept inland from the enormous storm surge.

The damage was not isolated to the Gulf Coast but here in East Texas as well. Trees were toppled and buildings were damaged as close as the Lufkin/Nacogdoches area.

This relief effort will go on for a while and these organizations will need some help.

Governor Rick Perry toured the damage Saturday and said, “We will rebuild andrestore.”

Below this story we are featuring ways foryou to help the Gulf Coast do just that.

The Apache spirit is alive and well and can be a tremendous impact in helping bring back communities along the coast.

Volunteer your time or money to the following organizations in this time of need.

To make sure your donations go to Ike relief operations designate “Ike Relief” on your donation.

To Donate:AMERICAN RED CROSSSmith County Chapter320 E. Rieck RoadTyler, TX 75703

SALVATION ARMYP.O. Box 2050Tyler, TX 75710*No Cash

EAST TEXAS FOOD BANK3201 Robertson Rd.Tyler, TX 75701

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