Among the first responders who went to the Houston area to help victims of Hurricane Harvey were lots of regular folks from across the state who drove down to help, however they could.
During the storm, Jim Bridges, a State Farm insurance agent from Lantana, kept in constant contact with his sister, Mary Lee, who lives in Pearland with her husband and three children. While his family managed to miss the worst of the storm, Jim and his wife, Morgan, felt called to help.
“Having Houston family made the mission extra personal,” Jim said, “and knowing I couldn’t just sit still and watch the news gave me a sense that I was doing something to help.”
Jim called Kathryn Flores with Mission Moms, and they decided to collect donations of cleaning supplies to take to Houston.
“Once the water recedes, we need some items to help clean up,” Flores said in a Facebook video.
They shared the video on several Facebook pages, and it got more than 1,600 views quickly.
“The plan was to collect donations for a week, and I figured I would load up my pickup truck and take items to Houston,” Jim wrote in an email. “We quickly found out that this was going to be big.”
They got a lot more donations than they expected.
“I am amazed with the amount of items that came in,” Jim wrote. “Friday was so crazy, we had to shut the office down because we could not handle the phone and people dropping items off.”
Some volunteers helped load two trucks and two trailers on Saturday morning, and Jim and Greg Reynolds, of Argyle, drove it all to a command center in Pearland to be distributed.
“Delivering the items to Houston and witnessing the gratitude firsthand is a moment that will forever impact my life,” Jim said.