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Nonprofit responds to community, personal disasters

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The nonprofit Roswell Community Disaster Relief provided help and assistance in 222 incidents in 2018, says Enrique Moreno, founder and director. It responds to about two to three calls a night. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A fledgling nonprofit and volunteer organization in the community is assisting the homeless, the elderly, the disabled and those affected by disasters or inclement weather.

Roswell Community Disaster Relief was created in late 2017 by Enrique Moreno, who works on a volunteer basis and rounds up workers, supplies and donations to answer requests for help. He said some of the most pressing issues now include aiding the homeless and repairing air conditioners or roofs for homeowners in need.

Moreno said the organization provided direct services in 222 cases in 2018 and typically responds to two to three calls a night. On Thursday, he was handling 48 calls. He said that while there are many community organizations that help, there are also a lot of “loopholes” that can prevent people from receiving help.

“Five o’clock is one of the biggest loopholes … out there,” he said. “Five o’clock hits and almost — I want to say, that 95%, 90% — of (services) close.”

The group has an emergency relief pantry at First Presbyterian Church of all types of supplies to help people and will coordinate volunteer efforts to repair air conditioners and homes for homeowners in financial need, provide auto assistance during bad weather, and arrange for temporary housing and food for the homeless. They also help people after home fires or natural disasters. In March, it worked with many other community organizations to assist in clean-up in the Dexter and Hagerman areas after the tornado and windstorms.

The problems Moreno and volunteers can’t solve are referred to other agencies and organizations to determine if they can assist.

The group is looking to obtain garden equipment to help with future disaster clean-ups, emergency lights for the pickup it uses on response calls, some funds for an extension ladder and donations to help respond to future community needs.

In response to receiving negative comments on his Facebook page about those who are homeless, he said that problems can affect people from different walks of life and that a major life setback can be all it takes for people to experience a crisis.

“They are called people, just like you and me,” he said, reading his Facebook reply. “They have a right to the same respect and opportunity as we all have in this community. The only difference from most of us is that they are experiencing homelessness. That’s it. Be it because of financial problems, mental stability, drug and alcohol use, domestic violence, the same can also be said for some people who have homes.”

The organization can be reached at 575-208-4055 or on its Facebook page, Facebook.com/RCDRservices.