Texas Flood Relief Drive Success Story
A week ago, one of our Western Carolina A&M Club members, Linda McDaniel ’77, sent me an email offering to pick up donated goods for flood relief and drive them in her truck and trailer to College Station for transfer to a local company that was delivering goods to the flood stricken areas.
That sounded like a great opportunity for our club to start a drive to collect donations. WCAMC president,Trey Cupp, was all for it. The timing was fortuitous since my good friend and Texas Exe President, Bruce Hatfield, had already been in contact with Texas Exes in Austin as well as family members in Houston and local Texans, so he was already organizing a relief effort here.
When I approached Bruce about a combined Texas effort he was more than willing. He called back five minutes later with a vacant office space that we could use as a staging area. It was graciously offered by the Henderson County Republican Party. Party members also volunteered to staff the staging area and helped in receiving, sorting and loading the donated goods.
Bruce had a contact list of fellow Texas Exes and many other local Texans from other Texas universities and colleges. I had contact lists for the WCAMC, the Camera Club of Hendersonville, our HOA, and many friends. Between his contacts and mine, we were able to notify well over a thousand people directly via email and many more via social media and word of mouth. Flyers with collection details were printed and distributed at the GOP booth during Apple Festival and posted at many other locations. Staples even donated the printing of the flyers. The newspapers ran three articles and Channel 13 conducted two interviews. So, the drive was well publicized very quickly.
Donations started arriving before our scheduled opening and poured in all during the first day. It was quickly obvious that we would exceed the capacity of Linda’s truck and two-horse trailer which meant that more transportation would be required. Fortunately, we were able to connect with Hearts with Hands, a non-profit disaster relief organization in Asheville that was already running trucks to churches in Corpus Christi and Houston.
By closing time the second day, we had sent a fully loaded a 16 foot box truck plus four large pickup trucks and an SUV to them. Then we loaded Linda’s truck and trailer for College Station.
We deem this a great success, thanks to the eager generosity of so many donors. We are most grateful to them as well as to the many volunteers who assisted in unpacking, sorting, loading and delivering donations. Some of the donors even stayed to help the process.
We estimate that there were over 100 donors to this cause and it all started with one person sending an email offering to pick up donations and deliver them to Texas. Her offer was the catalyst that galvanized the efforts of many local Texans who appreciated the opportunity to do something for their home state. Who said that one person can’t make a difference?
This was just one small example of the relief effort taking place in Texas and nationwide. Former president Bush quoted someone this morning who had said, “In Texas we have more love than water.”
Thank you, Linda McDaniel, for starting the ball rolling.
Bob Coffey ’58