HEROES & HELP
The Caring & Generous Continue to Bestow Houston With Support
BY SHIRLEY BARR
You’ve read and heard about all the monies, physical help and supplies that have poured into the Greater Houston area for more than a month. A Meyerland family used its kayaks and canoes to rescue neighbors and pets, turning members’ second story into a “Noah’s Arc”-like scenario. Two men hauled their boat all the way from the East Texas town of Palestine to save a West Houston family. The accounts are numerous — and all heroic.
Churches and temples of all sizes, sports arenas and even furniture stores opened their doors to the storm victims in need of a bed, clothing and a meal. Children also needed the normalcy of toys and hugs, even from strangers.
Here are some of the organizations and individuals who continue to offer Harvey relief initiatives. Pick your favorites among these or others to support. As my mother always said, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”
ORGANIZATIONS & FAMOUS GIVERS
Members of and volunteers for the American Red Cross were everywhere helping everyone, making this a charity of choice for many fundraising efforts by restaurants, Gulf States Toyota and numerous others.
BakerRipley, a local nonprofit helping low-income Houstonians for 110 years, operated the crowded Harvey shelter at NRG Park.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston moved into action with shelters and supplies.
FEMA was on the ground immediately and is still providing detailed monthly reports online, including a funding summary on the Disaster Relief Fund.
Gallery Furniture owner/philanthropist Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale opened two showrooms to shelter Harvey victims and was still giving out water and cleaning supplies weeks after the storm hit
Greater Houston. He emerged as
one of the battered area’s heroes.
Kieu Hoang, a Vietnamese immigrant and Houston billionaire, has donated $5 million to Harvey relief. Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock have each donated $1 million. Beyonce Knowles is raising money for relief efforts through her foundation and Les Alexander, outgoing Rockets owner, has pledged $10 million.
Houston Food Bank, America’s largest food bank serving 600 hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties, packed food and distributed to shelters. The bank welcomes volunteers to help.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund was quickly established by Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Greater Houston Community Foundation. It continues to have the pulse on neighborhoods in need.
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston includes the revered Meals on Wheels services for the homebound. The organization always needs people to pack and deliver.
J.J. Watt, perhaps the most famous Texans/NFL player, and his #HoustonStrong have raised more than $30 million and counting from 200,000-plus donations. Charles Butt, CEO of H-E-B, donated $5 million to this fund; Jimmy Fallon and “The Tonight Show” donated $1 million.
Jewish Federation of Greater Houston reached out to all faiths with shelter, volunteers and supplies.
The Salvation Army’s tag line says it all: “After the Unspeakable, We Speak Hope.” Its website has buttons to click the amount and type of your gift.
www.salvationarmyusa.org or donate by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY
Star of Hope, a well-managed nonprofit and always providing for nearly 1,000 homeless, was a shelter of hope for many more displaced by the floods.
Team Rubicon, with more than 48,000 volunteers, unites the skill of military veterans with first responders to deploy emergency response teams.
United Way and its Houston Relief Fund pledged 100 percent of your gifts to funds helping our neighbors recover with online buttons for Volunteer Houston, American Red Cross, Houston Food Bank and the shelters at NRG.
HELPING OUR PETS
Houston Humane Society was supported by many pet lovers, including President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Malania Trump who gave $25,000.
Houston Pet Set is well known by all the rescue shelters. It provides Harvey relief funds and year-round help to registered 501c3 animal welfare organizations.
SPCA operated its 24-hour Injured Animal Rescue Ambulance (713-869-SPCA) and Animal Rescue Disaster Hotline (713-861-3010) during the Harvey deluge.
EAT WELL AND DO GOOD
Many food companies and restaurant chains stepped up to the Harvey relief plate and were generous. Here are but a few, as you’ll find them all over town:
Brennan’s of Houston, the Commander’s Family of Restaurants and the Greater New Orleans Foundation
Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group donated $1 million to the Houston Food Bank.
H-E-B supported the J.J. Watt #HoustonStrong fundraising with in-store fundraising and supplies.
Kenny & Ziggy’s Delicatessen Restaurant is donating five percent of its proceeds through October to Harvey Relief being carried out by Jewish Federation of Houston.
Killen’s Barbecue and Killen’s Burgers pledge to raise $200,000 to provide 30,000 meals.
Kroger has committed $100,000 to the Houston Food Bank with the help of #KrogerCares social media posts.
Legacy Restaurants donated 6,000 Antone’s sandwiches to members of the Houston Police Department and other first responders, plus 1,000 sandwiches to Texas Children’s Hospital.
Papa John’s Pizza fed 4,500 Harvey victims at NRG Center and the Convention & Expo Center
Second Servings of Houston, Houston’s only prepared food rescue organization, delivered over a ton of food during Harvey relief. It packages and delivers food donated by restaurants and hotels to hunger relief operations year-round and is currently accepting donations for more refrigerated trucks.
Sweet Tomatoes gave free meals to first responders and other volunteers, donated 50 cases of bottled water and launched a nationwide fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank at all of its restaurants in 10 states, which the parent company will match up to $100,000.