The Alvarez family watched weather reports this past week knowing what a hurricane like Irene meant for them: evacuation.
The family lives in mobile home community in Wilson, NC. When the rain started falling, they made the decision to leave their home and head to the nearest Red Cross shelter.
Upon arriving at the shelter, 17-year-old Gaby Alvarez noticed the staff could use the help of a translator. So the teenager pulled up a chair at the registration table and helped sign in nearly half of the 160 residents who stayed at the shelter Friday night.
Gaby also helps translate the needs of certain shelter residents to Red Cross staff. “She has been a blessing,” said shelter supervisor Brenda Pander. “We have had several residents here say they wanted to help do something because the Red Cross had done so much for them.”
Many people at the Wilson shelter evacuated from Gaby’s neighborhood, and there are several families who cannot speak English. “I just wanted to help,” Gaby said. “It seemed like the right thing to do.”