#HoustonStrong is not just a hashtag, it’s anthem and a creed that we follow, especially when it comes to helping those in need. City leaders, big and small businesses, and philanthropists have loaded up and hit I-10 to Louisiana to help victims of Hurricane Ida.

The City is partnering with the National Association of Christian Churches (NACC), The Kroger Co., and Gallery Furniture owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale to assist storm evacuees.

Last Monday, NACC opened its doors to provide shelter for more than 120 people who had evacuated before the storm devastated parts of Louisiana. NACC is providing hot meals, shower facilities, a change of clothes, and hygiene items.  To volunteer or donate supplies, please call NACC Disaster Services at (832) 626-7111.

Kroger has launched a relief drive in more than 100 Greater Houston and Louisiana stores to support the communities and families affected by Hurricane Ida. Customers can donate a bag of non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods for $6 at checkout. The bags will contain staples such as tuna, peanut butter, oatmeal, and apple juice. The bags will go directly to NOLA to support families in need.

“As we look at the devastation Hurricane Ida brought, we want nothing more than to support a community in need,” said Joe Kelley, President of Kroger. “Jim and Kroger are long-time partners and together with the support of Houstonians, we will be able to provide aid to thousands of families who have been affected by Hurricane Ida.”

As families who evacuated Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida return back to their hometowns many are left without access to power or running water and have damage to their homes.  Kroger and Gallery Furniture will be distributing 18-wheelers of food and water to the community, with banners emblazoned with the phrase “We Are Here for You,” a message of support to a community in recovery.

“Gallery Furniture is thrilled to partner again with Kroger,” said Jim McIngvale. “Kroger provided much needed assistance to thousands of Houstonians during the pandemic and again during the ice storm. Kroger knows how to get things done and take care of people. Gallery Furniture couldn’t have a better partner to work with on hurricane relief in Louisiana than the great team at Kroger and the wonderful citizens of Houston and Texas. Let’s get together and get it done!”

Turkey Leg Hut owners Lynn and Nakia Price hopped in a customized all-terrain vehicle labeled “The Rescue Team,” announcing on Facebook that they were heading to Louisiana to help survivors.

Trae tha Truth and his Relief Gang met a group of volunteers at the Buc-ee’s in Baytown Monday as they geared up to hit the highway. The group said they are in it for the long haul and plan on sleeping in their trucks if they must.  They already had “boots on the ground” doing rescues in boats and trucks.

Trae said the Relief Gang is constantly getting messages from people stuck in their homes, and he and other volunteers are doing all they can to get to them. He admits it’s hard work, but says in the end, it’s all worth it.

The nonprofit, The Outreach Program Inc., partnered with the Christian Community Youth organization to collect water, diapers, wipes, pet food, cleaning supplies and other much-needed supplies.

Donations were dropped off at Casket World USA, located at 9605 Mesa Drive, and owners, Barron and Leslie Francois Preston led a team of big rigs to St. John the Baptist Parish, where Mrs. Francois Preston is from.  She said, even though she is now a Houston resident, she wanted to make sure she personally went back to help her family in Louisiana.

“Houstonians have a heart for helping others in their time of need. I thank everyone who is working to organize relief efforts in Houston or ship supplies to Louisiana,” said Mayor Turner said. “By working together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of others.”