Following a full assessment of the Buckner Children and Family Services campus and Calder Woods senior living community in Beaumont, Texas, Buckner leadership announced its plan to safely return evacuated children, seniors and staff over the weekend.
“An evacuation is often a traumatic experience for anyone involved, but when you consider the vulnerable populations we serve and the fact it happened in the midst of a global pandemic, the results can be devastating,” said Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International.
“There are many mixed emotions going on with the children and seniors we serve. On one hand there is a desire to return to a sense of normalcy that home provides, but there is also the need to continue to recover from the first day-long exodus out of Beaumont before embarking on a second journey.”
Despite both campuses escaping damage and flooding, the decision was made to hold on returning to Beaumont until the city is more operational. Many of the stores and restaurants remained boarded up Thursday night, and nearly one million people across Southeast Texas and Louisiana are without power.
Additionally, parts of Southeast Texas are predicted to incur rolling blackouts and periodic power outages because of the extensive damages to energy companies’ transmission systems in Louisiana.
Earlier Friday, Calder Woods alerted its independent living residents they may return to the community beginning 10 a.m. Saturday. Health care residents evacuated to Ventana by Buckner in Dallas will be transported back on Saturday, while those evacuated to Buckner Villas in Austin and Parkway Place in Houston will return Sunday.
The evacuated children from campus foster care homes and the assessment center will likely return to the BCFS campus Sunday evening pending the condition of the city’s infrastructure. In the meantime, the children will have the opportunity to enjoy two more days at Camp Buckner in Central Texas.
Buckner is working with its teams at both campuses as they assess the damage and availability of utilities at their own residences and will help make accommodations as needed.
“I am extremely proud of the work our staff has done to shepherd their flocks to safety in anticipation of the hurricane, and now to return in the coming days,” Reyes said. “We will support them the same way they support the children and senior adults they look over.”