Local efforts kick-start help to storm victims on East Coast

HOUSTON – When Harvey hit, volunteers from all corners of the United States answered the call. Friday, it was evident that Houstonians have not forgotten, as several groups sprang into action to help victims of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas.

"During Harvey it was other communities helping our community. We want to do the same thing," Tim Thomas, public information officer for the West I-10 Volunteer Fire Department, said.

West I-10 VFD is accepting donations to be shipped and distributed in the Carolinas early next week.

Here is more information:

Dropoff: 22125 Kingsland Boulevard, Katy, Texas, 77450
Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Items Needed: water, non-perishable food, toiletries, clothes (especially socks/underwear), diapers, baby formula

The University of Houston is holding a similar supply drive on Monday at TDECU Stadium.

Even individuals not associated with large organizations are rallying relief.

Houstonian Jeff Smith got help during Harvey, now he is returning the favor.

Items can be dropped off at Cannon Fitness and Performance, located at 5907 Star Lane (near Chimney Rock and 59) Saturday 6 a.m. - noon, Sunday noon to 4 p.m. and Monday 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.

He's asking for the following supplies, before he heads to the Hurricane zone on Sunday:

  • Black contractor trash bags.
  • Bleach/Odoban.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Sharpies.
  • Dense packaged snacks (protein bars, jerky, etc).
  • Diapers/wipes (primarily size 3 and 5).
  • Gift cards (restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations).

Other Houstonians are helping in other ways.

Matthew Marchetti, a software developer, has constructed a website that matches rescuers to people who need to be rescued.

"Starting with Harvey, we've done about 37,000 rescues. In Florence so far, we've done about 75 (rescues)," Marchetti said.

Marchetti developed the website during Hurricane Harvey while he was rescuing others with members of United Methodist Church.