JJ Watt raises millions to help Houston after devastating flooding

By Amanda Cochran - Social Media Producer , Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor
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(JJ Watt/Twitter)

HOUSTON - Houston Texans star JJ Watt is calling on the world to help Houston as Harvey slams southeast Texas.

“I’m sitting here watching the news, checking the internet for everything that’s going on with Hurricane Harvey and the damage it’s causing back home. It’s very difficult,” Watt said in a video posted to Twitter. “It’s very difficult not only because we have family and friends back there. Some guys have young kids, some have wives and families. That’s our city. It’s very tough to watch our city get hit by such a bad storm and not being there to help.”

The celebrity defensive end posted the video on social media Sunday asking for donations to help with recovery following the storm. He raised $200,000 in less that two hours, so he challenged people to reach $500,000.

“What I do want to do is -- I want to start fundraising because I know these recovery efforts are going to be massive,” Watt said. “I know there’s going to be a whole bunch of people we’ll need to help get back on their feet and I know there’s going to be a lot we need to do to rebuild.”

Watt posted a link to a YouCaring page where people can donate funds to aid the recovery effort. 

Watt donated $100,000 of his own money with this message: "Houston, we're in this together."

Watt ended the video with this: “You can donate something small. If you can donate something big. Whatever you can donate, please donate to help these people out. Houston’s a great city. We’re going to come out of this stronger than ever. But we’re going to need a lot of money to help these people rebuild. So if you can donate, please donate. Everybody in Houston, stay safe. … Stay safe, we’re thinking about you. We’re going to come back. We’re going to help you out."

Watt later tweeted at YouCaring shortly after the campaign reached the $200,000 mark saying the effort had broken the website due to massive interest in donations.

And then when the page came back up, Watt tweeted out this:

As of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Watt said donations had topped $4 million, so, he obviously set a new goal of raising $5 million to help the city.

 

 

Watch Watt's full, initial video below:

By Wednesday, Watt's goal had been exceeded. So, he set it even higher: $6 million.

 

 

Not even five hours after raising the goal, it was exceeded once again. And again, Watt set a new goal of $10 million.

A $1 million donation from Walmart on the Ellen Show nearly put the new goal over the top.

 

By 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Watt tweeted that the $10 million goal had been reached.

"$10 million! Absolutely incredible. The most difficult times bring out the best in humanity," Watt tweeted.

As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday Watt helped raise $12 million, and counting, for Houston flood relief.

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