Volunteers help thousands by distributing free supplies at Hurricane Harvey relief drive

HOUSTON – The sun had barely set by the time Rita Washington paused to catch her breath. Washington was busy, she and nearly a dozen volunteers at Old Spanish Trail and Scott Street were loading a caravan of cars with peanut butter, canned goods, and cereal -- commodities thousands still need, over eight months after Hurricane Harvey rendered thousands homeless. 

“I'm going to be here as long as they need me,” Washington said with a smile.

By the time Washington spoke with KPRC2, she and other volunteers had been at it since midday Monday. 

"We've served probably today over 6,000 people,” said Barry Thompson, a community organizer from Team Pick Me Up, one of several organizations distributing food. 

Thompson organized two food pickup sites in southeast Houston Monday: one at Scott and Old Spanish Trail, the other at Griggs Road and Cullen Boulevard. A separate line snaked its way around a parking lot at the latter location well into 9 p.m. Monday. 

"We're Houston strong. It's about coming together as one,” said Martesha Haynes, from Social Good in Action, another community organization behind Monday’s food drive, and others just about weekly following Harvey.

The task even included driving food to those who could not drive themselves. 

"I pick up items and I deliver them to those families in need, or for those children who are at Texas Children's Hospital. I deliver to those families, as well,” Haynes said. 

Organizers underscored the point that it isn’t just people flooded out by Harvey who need help with food and other items. Relatives of victims, who have picked up some of the burden, are in need, too, according to Barry Thompson. 

“Family members who had to take them in or vice versa. It affected their budgets. So we are standing on the fact that there is a need,” Thompson said. 

Thompson’s Team Put Me Up and Haynes’ Social Social Good in Action were joined by a host of local organizations that continue to volunteer post-Harvey. 

Donations and drives will continue, organizers said. 

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“It's a lot of people who really need help,” Washington chimed in, saying she’ll continue to do her part — as long as the need continues.

About the Author:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.