South Florida residents gather supplies for Harvey victims

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Hurricane Harvey has caused severe flooding to areas of Southern Texas, and people in South Florida are coming together to send supplies to some of the hardest hit areas.

A pair of Sawgrass Recreation Park employees hit the road, Wednesday morning, with two trucks full of donations, along with an airboat to help with rescue efforts. All the items will be taken to Texas. “There’s a lot of areas devastated, and it’s a lot of people too,” said Michael Cushing with Sawgrass Recreational Park.

“Knowing I have the boats, I’m physically capable of getting up there and doing it,” said Sawgrass Recreational Park owner Tim Schwartzman. “I couldn’t not go, so I’m ready.”

“I think if it was us on the other side of that, we could easily be the ones on the evening news, with people looking at us with helicopters” said Mike Soverns, also an owner of the park. “So, in that event, we all have to help each other. We’re all in this together.”

Cushing said both of the employees know what they’re doing. “They’ll definitely know how to handle any situation out there on the airboats. The airboats themselves are relatively small, so he can fit them into smaller places you couldn’t get a bigger boat into.”

The employees are expected to arrive in Houston by week’s end, while the park is still looking for donations to the cause.

Items needed include:

  • nonperishable foods
  • baby and infant supplies
  • clothing donations
  • first aid safety supplies
  • water

On Tuesday, the Coral Springs Chargers collected items for donation at Mullins Park in Coral Springs. “A lot of people are pulling up,” said volunteer Merry Gaeta, “People have been shopping, people are emptying their cabinets.”

People dropped off water, blankets and non-perishable food items. Someone even donated a boat.

“We’re gonna pick up her boat, and we’re gonna to take it to Houston, Texas,” said AJ Poulin of the Coral Springs Chargers, “and then she wants us just to leave it there with somebody that could use it while we’re gone, and she doesn’t want the boat back. She said, ‘It’s sitting in my garage. It’s yours, you can have it. It’s brand new.'”

Coaches and board members from the Coral Springs Chargers will be driving to Houston, Friday, bringing airboats and the donated items.

Many people have donated everything from Solo cups to PediaSure to water, all in an effort to help support the victims of Harvey.

Danette Thompson showed up to the park with several supplies. “We have some T-shirts for the men, a couple of grooming things, toothbrushes and razors, underwear for the young ladies,” she said.

For Thompson, this hits home. “It’s horrible. I mean, I could just feel for the people,” Thompson said. “I do know people that are currently being affected, where their homes are being flooded.”

The Moses family also came with a truck full of supplies.

“We saw on the news all the flooding, and it looked terrible, so we just wanted to do everything we can to help,” Jasiah Moses said.

“We just called a bunch of our friends and our church family,” Wendy Moses said, “we told them we were gonna leave at noon, so bring us everything that you could bring down here.”

In Miami, the American Red Cross prepared emergency response vehicles.

“The Red Cross is mounting its largest response in about a decade,” said Emily Borababui, a spokesperson with the American Red Cross.

Once the workers are in place, they will use the disaster relief trucks to help feed people. “We’ll be doing the mass feeding through locations, and if they request clean up kids or anything else, we are requested to go into the sites and help them out,” said Gilbert de Armas, who is also with the American Red Cross.

They expect to be there for at least two weeks. “We will stay in Texas as long as the people need us to be there,” Borababui said. “We’re there to provide food and shelter for them.”

At Miami Dade College, blood collection trucks also held a donation event. “I’m here because I’m passionate on helping victims in any way that I can, any kind of victim, especially during this hurricane,” said one blood donor.

Phone company Q Link Wireless CEO has 200,000 customers in Texas and also wanted to help the community they serve.

“We are providing free minutes, cell phone coverage throughout the State of Texas,” said Q Link Wireless CEO Issa Asad. “Unlimited for the people of Texas in a devastated area to be able to reach friends, family, first responders.”

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