Multiple facilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have opened their doors as shelters in the wake of Hurricane Harvey's devastation. Thousands of people are expected to head north, seeking refuge for possibly months on end. Five thousand people alone are expected at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas within the coming days and weeks, with a similar number anticipated in Fort Worth and surrounding suburbs. The need for supplies will be huge --- and local schools, city governments and residents have stepped up to help their fellow Texans.
Supply drives, collection locations and transportation services have popped up all over the DFW metroplex. Social media has exploded with the efforts of local citizens to gather, sort and deliver essentials like food, clothing, diapers and cribs. One such story took place in the centrally-located suburb of Keller.
On Monday, Leslie Horn rallied about 50 friends on social media to donate via Venmo and PayPal.
"I'm heading to Walmart today to pick up supplies for donations to one of the soon-to-open mega shelters in Dallas. If anyone wants to contribute...you can Venmo or PayPal me," Horn posted on Instagram.
Although Horn actively volunteers in the community, this time the mission was personal --- she and her family lived in Houston for many years.
"My own neighbors and friends were suffering, and I had to do something. I couldn't just watch the news and feel that helpless anymore," Horn said.
The response to her request was immediate and overwhelming, with donations climbing to $3,000.
The "Keller Mom Brigade," as Horn dubbed her group, blossomed into 10 women and five SUVs. Within a few hours, they collected shopping carts full of toiletries, socks, underwear, diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, non-perishable food items and portable cribs. Thanks to generous discounts and coupons offered at local stores like Walmart and Target, their dollars went farther than expected.
"❤️❤️ People are good," Horn posted.
The group delivered their haul to the Greater Keller Chamber of Commerce where it was transferred, along with donations from other locals, to mega shelters in Dallas, awaiting evacuees as they arrive.
Horn posted a final thanks to friends, including a message of hope.
"Thank you to everyone who donated to our little collection we started yesterday! It grew to $3000!! This is going to be a very long road for literally millions of our fellow Texans, but based on what I saw here today, I believe that every single last one of them will be taken care of. People are incredible. ...We got hugs and teary-eyed thank yous everywhere we went. People want to help so much," Horn posted. "More to come, Houston friends! We are ready to help."