Last Saturday, dozens of people headed to the Imperial Avenue parking lot. They dropped off piles of goods, for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Soon, a 30-foot truck loaded with donations headed south.
Adam Goldberg — the Westporter who masterminded the effort — sends this report:
After a successful packing job, with many residents moving and lifting boxes, the Aquafence truck went on its way.
But just an hour in — by Elizabeth, New Jersey — the driver noticed something was not right. After a diagnostic test, he discovered the truck was 100% overweight.
Scrambling for a solution, we found an article about the Elizabeth Fire Department doing a donation drive for Harvey victims. To their surprise, our truck pulled up with donations for their truck.
We gave them 1/3 of our stuff — mostly used clothing and some heavier gear. We knew it would eventually make it to Texas, so we felt good.
There was more to come. The truck had 2 flat tires on the way, but arrived safely in Houston Tuesday morning — only 1 day behind schedule.
Our first assigned location was the Kingwood relief center. The neighborhood was hit hard, and many people lost everything. We unloaded half our items there, focusing on what they needed most.
We then headed to our 2nd drop site. The Church Without Walls was a much larger facility, serving much of western Houston.
As with Kingwood, while we were not the only truck delivering supplies that day, they were thrilled to see us. They offered us a meal, a hug and a huge thank you.
It was now 3 p.m. We had been delivering goods since 8 a.m., but we had one more task ahead of us that day.
Our next mission was to provide a delicious hot meal for those in need. We had been lined up to cook for the Southeast Houston relief center on Wednesday for 200 people. But local authorities asked us to cook instead for a funeral honoring a police sergeant and first responder who died in the storm.
With the support of our intended cooking spot to switch our venue, it was now up to another Westporter, Jason Epstein, who had flown down to help prepare food for 500 or more people.
We also needed to buy the grills and cooking supplies, which were to be donated after the cook. With the help of some amazing locals who joined us, we pulled it all off.
We made beef, chicken and shrimp tacos. But the biggest hit was the kale Caesar salad.
The cash donations we’d collected, from a Westport lemonade stand and others, went to an amazing cause. Three large grills, along with 2 generators, were delivered to the Southeast Houston Relief Mission. They still lack electricity, but now they can serve hot meals every day.
When our 2 days were over, we delivered our vehicle to the Houston FEMA office. They gave us a fascinating tour of central command — and were even kind enough to drive us to the airport.
We’re back now. But we will never forget this amazing experience helping others.