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“This is an incredible gift. We’re so thankful. It’s times like this when we do receive such an incredible amount of support. Especially during times of disaster, people see what’s happening in Texas and our hearts all go out to them,” Elizabeth Penniman, Vice President of Communications for American Red Cross national headquarters, tells PEOPLE. “Having someone like Sandra Bullock make this kind of commitment, it helps bring people together and open their hearts and be even more generous.”
The star, who is a long-time supporter of the American Red Cross and has a home in Texas, is encouraging others to help those devastated by flooding and destruction caused by Harvey along the state’s gulf coast.
Although the country may be politically polarized, Bullock says the disaster wrought by Harvey — now downgraded to a tropical storm and expected to dump as much as 39 inches of rain on Houston and the surrounding region — should bring all Americans together.
“There are no politics in eight feet of water,” says the star. “There are human beings in eight feet of water.”
First responders are working around the clock to help more than 6,000 people displaced by the flooding.
“It’s been a tragic weekend, and unfortunately, the worst is yet to come,” says Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Services and Logistics for the Red Cross. “We are beginning a massive relief effort.”
That includes providing shelter and supplies for thousands. For Bullock, she says she’s happy to do her part.
“I’m just grateful I can do it,” she says. “We all have to do our part.”