When Home is a Parking Lot 

Red Cross Volunteers Bring Hot Meals to RV Campers  
Dave Martin gets hot meals from Red Cross volunteers. Photo by Marcia Antipa/American Red Cross

“They tell you to get out and that’s it.” 

Dave Martin and a few dozen other RV Campers have sought refuge in a rain-drenched parking lot in Hollister during the recent California storms.  All of them were forced to evacuate RV campgrounds in the area when the floodwaters rose and threatened to swamp their vehicles. 

Robin Lewis also brought his camper to this lot after a harrowing few days seeking a safe haven. 

“We stayed by the side of the road for a few days, went to another place, came here, and we’re worried about where we’re going to head to next.” 

Mario Garcia at the Red Cross response vehicle. Photo by Marcia Antipa

Then, the American Red Cross arrived with hot food and two friendly faces:  volunteers Roberta Jones of Silver Creek, Washington, and Felix Rodriguez of Madera, California.  The two dished out meals, snacks and bottled water from inside an Emergency Response Vehicle.   

“It’s great,” said Robin Lewis after picking up a few meals. “There’s a need for help here, not just us, there’s a lot of people. We’re way better off than a lot of people, for sure.” 

Red Cross volunteer Roberta Jones. Photo by Marcia Antipa

Camper Mario Garcia accepted his meals with a big smile, and brought food to another camper, who he said was too shy to accept food. Mario says he makes the most of what could be a dreary experience. He even plans to attend a “Learn to Salsa Dance” event at a Hollister dance club. 

Volunteers Roberta Jones and Felix Rodriguez get a little choked up when asked why they volunteer with the Red Cross during a disaster. The reason, Jones says, is simple. 

“The people. Everyone is so grateful, and that’s why I do this, because they are just so grateful. Don’t make me cry,” she says, laughing. 

The Red Cross needs more volunteers like Roberta and Felix. If you would like to help, please visit redcross.org/volunteer