Story by, Ekland Durousseau, Photo by Marco Bracamontes, Red Cross contributors

A Red Cross volunteer for a little over seven years, Idalia Trevino understands what it means to need help after a disaster. “In June of last year, I was in a flood myself and I know how it feels to need help,” said Trevino. “I remembered the despair and thinking, what do I do now? When you live through a disaster, you empathize with affected people on a different level.”

Back home in Harlingen, TX, Trevino is a Disaster Action Team member who responds to home fires helping clients with immediate assistance and connecting them to long term recovery resources. When disaster strikes, she likes to help by supporting sheltering. This time, she travelled over 400 miles, during a pandemic, to help shelter families in need.

“I had been very careful staying at home, but I just had to come,” said Trevino. “I knew these people would need help, so I talked to my husband and started training to learn the new rules that they have put in place for sheltering during the COVID-19 era.”

Trevino says, that under the new sheltering guidance everything has gone very smoothly. “People are not congregating, they are enjoying their own space. They mostly stay in their rooms, only coming out to get meals, or check on what’s left of their homes and property.”

After being deployed for almost two weeks, Trevino will return home on Sunday. 

Reflecting on her time in East Texas, Trevino smiles, “I really enjoy working at the shelter because you get to know people. Every day you hear their stories and you feel for them. My favorite part of the day is when one of the little boys nearest our station visits us to pick up snacks. With everything he is going through, he always has a smile on his face. He is just so happy!”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer to help your community prepare, respond and recover from disasters visit: