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One Year After Hurricane Harvey, JJ Watt’s Relief Fund Has Helped Serve 26 Million Meals

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston last August, tragedy was everywhere. So much tragedy, in fact, that one NFL star decided to take matters into his own hands. After collecting millions more than originally intended, the fund has helped the City of Houston in unbelievable ways.

Havoc In Houston

On August 26, 2017, Hurrican Harvey hit Houston, Texas, taking an estimated 88 lives and causing nearly $125 billion in damages. The tropical storm is tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the deadliest hurricane in the contiguous United States.

Over the next four days Texas’ most populated city, with more than 2.3 million residents, received more than 40 inches of rain. The rain caused unprecedented flooding, displacing thousands from their homes.

Reaching Out For Relief

J.J. Watt, a defensive end NFL player for the Houston Texans, couldn’t just stand by and watch as the hurricane’s effect wreaked havoc on his city. So he decided to make a viral video asking for donations for Hurricane Harvey victims.

At first, Watt set a goal of raising $200,000 for Hurrican Harvey relief. One year later, Watt’s relief fund ended up raising $41.6 million, or 208 times his original goal. 

Houston Strong

All of the money raised was distributed to eight nonprofits including All Hands and Hearts, Americares, Boys & Girls Clubs, Baker Ripley, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, and SBP. The funds were used for a variety of projects, including the cleanup and repair of more than 600 homes, reconstruction of 420 childcare centers and after-school programs, distribution of more than 26 million meals, reinstitution of physical and mental health services, and distribution of medicine to more than 10,000 people in need.

“As I reflect on the events of Hurricane Harvey one year ago, the memories of destruction and devastation remain, but they are accompanied by memories of hope, selflessness and the beauty of the human spirit,” Watt said in a statement. “Every time that I am fortunate enough to witness someone step back into their home for the first time or a child run around the playground again, I am reminded of the generosity of strangers that helped make it all possible. Thank you and never stop spreading the positivity! #HoustonStrong.”

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