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Hilton Garden Inn Holds Hurricane Harvey Fundraiser

Courant Community

The Hilton Garden Inn hosted a happy hour fundraiser, on Sept. 18, for the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey deployment.

Around 90 Connecticut and Rhode Island Red Cross workers are deployed in Houston, which took the full-brunt of Harvey's wrath.

Local restaurants, hotels, and businesses donated items for the evening's raffle.

Andrew Smith, the hotel's general manager, said he wanted to hold a fundraiser after watching news reports of the devastation Harvey caused in Houston and nearby communities. The storm dumped more than 50 inches of rain, flooding entire sections of Houston and leaving scores of families homeless.

Smith felt compelled to raise money for the Red Cross and to reach out to fellow Hilton employees in Houston.

"I spoke with my team and said we should do something," he said. "We have a lot of hotels in that area that were impacted."

He thanked Windsor businesses for supporting the event and supplying raffle items, including nearby competitor Marriott.

Smith said Hilton provides hourly updates on the situation in Houston. Hotels not affected by Harvey are providing shelter for survivors, he said.

"We're doing everything we can to help out. That's what we're about as a company," he said. "We do that for everybody."

He added the Red Cross can provide direct assistance to survivors, with 91 cents of every dollar going toward the effort. Hotel guests continue to make donations to the Red Cross.

Jacqueline Scheib, a Connecticut Red Cross board member, said the agency, statewide and nationally, responds to disasters daily. On average, one to two fires displace people in Connecticut every day.

She thanked the event organizers and guests for their generosity.

"Every little bit makes a tremendous impact on the people who are going through this major disaster," Scheib said.

Ninety-five percent of Red Cross workers are volunteers, according to Scheib. Connecticut has one of the larger Red Cross deployment bases.

"Our people are generous and giving of their time and resources," she said.

Red Cross volunteers may be deployed for weeks at a time. Shelters have been set up in Texas and Louisiana. Twenty-six shelters continue to operate across Texas, with more than 5,000 individuals still seeking refuge.

"For some of these people, it's such a dark time. The Red Cross is really the only hope and light in that darkness," Scheib said.

Approximately 3,000 Red Cross workers are still on the ground in Texas, with 500 more in route.

The Red Cross effort includes food and supply caravans and mental health and medical services. Toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies, and comfort kits are still need in the Houston area.

For direct cash donations, visit the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey.

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