Flood victims a little more thankful heading into Thanksgiving

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Help is coming to flood victims in Texas, after the president signed a disaster declaration to make sure they can get the resources to rebuild.

One of the hardest hit neighborhoods was Thoroughbred Farms in Southeast Travis County.

“It’s real frustrating, it’s real frustrating,” said Evette Arzola. “You tend to feel alone when you can’t get no help.”

She and her family are still living in a hotel – an expense they can’t afford. The flood not only took Arzola’s home, but it put her dreams on hold. “I quit school. I was in my second week of nursing school,” said Arzola. “Brand new books, everything, in the car.”

She’s relying on funds from FEMA, but says it’s still hard to be optimistic. “I just hope. We’ve sat here and waited for this moment, and then for them to tell us we’re not eligible, that’s going to be really disappointing,” said Arzola.

She and other neighbors feel as if they’ve already been forgotten in the recovery efforts.

“They give you all these resources to call and all they tell you is that ‘We’re waiting, we don’t have no funds, next year, you’re out of the area’. We’ve heard all the excuses in the book.”

But this Thanksgiving, volunteers teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas to remind families like Arzolas that they’re not alone.

On Friday night, they hosted a dinner for dozens of people impacted by the floods. “We wanted to be recognized as Thoroughbred Farms neighborhood, we didn’t want to be forgotten,” said Arzola. “And it looks like they’re not forgetting us now.”

Opal Scott has been working to help neighbors since the storm hit, coordinating the dinner. She wanted to give flood victims a reason to smile, something that’s been difficult to do over the past few weeks.

Neighbors say Scott has made a huge difference in their lives since the storm, even bringing portapotties to the neighborhood for homeowners there trying to clean and rebuild.

A COTA spokeswoman says the evening would not have been possible without donations from individuals and groups from around the area:

Circuit of The Americas, Ryan Sanders Sports Services- RS3, HEB, Central Market, Whole Foods, Randalls, Opal Scott, Mike Marcellus, Jedadiah Baker Ministries JoeBob Ellison and the Reveal Resource Center

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