WAXAHACHIE — A drop of hometown generosity has been added to the flooding need spreading throughout the coast of Texas, as residents and Gateway Mortgage Group supplied a Houston couple and Waxahachie natives with a truckload of aid to take back to their community.
“We have been blown away by the response of the community so far,” began Andrea Macias, Houston resident. “We grew up here in Waxahachie and my husband, Erick, his parents still live here, so we wanted to help in any way we can while we’re here.”
“They [Erick’s parents] have a carport that’s filled with items, and people are like, ‘Are you going to need an 18-wheeler to take all of this stuff,’ she laughed. “We’re pretty amazed at the response of Waxahachie.”
Like many stories of citizen heroics and acts of kindness surface, the traditional Texas pride remains strong with Waxahachie in the midst of lending a hand to fellow Texans.
“We live in Houston, and we saw a lot of needs on Facebook and our church, so we felt that God was leading us to do this,” explained Erick Macias, husband of Andrea.
After Erick returned home from a business trip to Louisiana on Aug. 24, Andrea and their two children, Izzi and Julia, escaped the clutches of the storm and fled to their hometown of Waxahachie.
“We really did not think we would flood where we’re at, so we left,” Andrea recalled. “We live by Cyprus Creek, and it was an area that was hit pretty bad."
Although Andrea received updates from neighbors and their homes being flooded, the Macias residence remained dry with water only reaching their front porch.
“We’re very blessed because our house is dry, but it got our neighborhood really bad and the areas around us really bad,” Andrea acknowledged. “Some of the houses in my neighborhood are six-feet deep in water.”
And as the motto goes that “everything is bigger in Texas,” it certainly rang true for the Lone Star state as the U.S. National Weather Services claimed the rainfall obliterated previous state records, setting the bar at more than 50 inches of water.
According to a report by the Washington Post, more than 9-trillion gallons of water fell across the Houston area and most of Southeast Texas. During this time the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from two Houston dams because water levels in their reservoirs were rising more than half a foot per hour.
Far exceeding the damage of previous hurricanes, Harvey delivered a devastating punch with massive flooding and widespread power outages across multiple counties as first responders, non-profit organizations, and churches relieved those in distress.
“It’s hard being here, and we want to be there,” Andrea expressed. “We wanted to get back as soon as it happened and help, but we couldn’t. So we decided to be useful where God has us, so we came up with this plan to do a Facebook post and start collecting stuff to take home.”
“Andrea and I went to high school here [in Waxahachie], so we did a video on Facebook, and everyone has been helping, and coming and dropping stuff off, “ Erick noted.
After Erick rang the alarms on a Facebook “call to action” post Monday night, Jeff Schmidt, Gateway Mortgage’s Regional Manager for North Texas, answered the call and jumped on the opportunity to help.
“We brought almost over $16,000 worth,” Schmidt explained the donation. “The Macias family is one of our clients, and, of course, we hear the news of everything, and we’re like, ‘How can we help?’”
“Well, I saw Erick’s story come up, and I thought that would be perfect, so I did ‘a call to action’ to my five branches in Dallas and Forth Worth, and we all came up with flatbed truck loads of donations,” he described the scene. “With the help of Walmart in Granbury, they sent their employees over to help deliver and unload. It was amazing.”
Over the course of two and-a-half days, nearly 60 people and counting have donated supplies with most driving from the outskirts of Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, and Ellis County.
“There have been a lot of people who have reached out to us and brought things, like classmates driving an hour to bring a box of stuff and random people calling me wanting to help and go down to Houston with us,” Erick recognized.
From groceries to pet food, clothes, toiletries, bedding, and cleaning supplies, the Macias are taking back more than they originally intended, but are more than happy to do so.
“We’ll take as much of this as we can to our church, The MET Church, and whatever they don’t use we’ll take it to another shelter,” Erick explained.
“Our church in Houston opened up as a Red Cross shelter, and they have about 700 evacuees right now, so we’re also raising money for our neighborhood and our church,” she noted. “They need a lot of financial help, so if people want to give, they can do that through our church’s website.”
As for what’s expected of the Macias’ return to Houston on Thursday, they plan to volunteer with their church and help their neighbors with debris removal.
“We’ve already heard from our neighbors how bad the intense smell is in their houses, so we plan to go and start helping cut out carpet and sheetrock," Andrea affirmed. "We’re also really involved in our church, so we plan to take shifts and meeting those evacuees’ needs."
With loaded supplies, the Macias expressed their appreciation for the community’s support in times of emergency.
“Thank you,” Andrea said. “It’s hard to put into words, but the generosity of this community has been amazing and to see how much people care for people that they don’t even know, and how much people are willing to give – it’s just blowing us away.”
“We’re doing what God has called us to do, to be his hands and feet, and we’re so proud of our Waxahachie roots for doing the same,” Erick complimented. “We’re proud to be from a place that really cares for others.”
To support the hurricane victim efforts at The Met Church in Houston, visit themet.securegive.com or themet.church
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer