With trucks and trailers full of donations, Santa Clarita volunteers started an over 1,500-mile drive to Houston this weekend to bring supplies to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Community members collaborated with local businesses to serve as drop off stations for donations, rounding up water bottles, diapers, insulin, clothes and toys.
“You name it, these people (in Texas) need everything right now,” Clayton MacIsaac said. “It’s amazing what just a few people can do when they get together.”
The effort started when MacIsaac, an employee at Detour Plumbing, asked his boss for a few days off work to bring relief to the victims in Texas.
Not only was MacIsaac granted the time off, he was given company vehicles to borrow so he could bring more donations.
Uncertainty and potential risks were not going to stop MacIsaac’s desire to help victims, he said.
“You’ve got to take risks to help people,” he said. “The situation shouldn’t determine whether they get help or not.”
Despite some unexpected vehicle trouble that put a temporary halt on the trip, MacIsaac said Monday he was determined to get to Texas by early Tuesday morning.
“We’re pushing forward and we’re going to make it,” he said. “There is trying and there is doing. We’re doing.”
When he arrives in Texas, the first stop will be to get the insulin to a doctor’s office to aid hurricane victims with diabetes. After dropping off the rest of the supplies, MacIsaac said he is going to help with cleanup efforts.
Volunteer Beth Lusk said she asked her friends in Texas what supplies were most lacking in wake of the storm so she could arrange for donations to meet specific needs.
“I think they’re going to be happy people are thinking of them and not forgetting them and remembering that they’re there,” Lusk said.
For 13-year-old volunteer Rylie Murphy, helping organize donations was her way of showing Hurricane Harvey victims they are loved and cared for.
“I feel like I’m impacting people majorly,” Murphy said. “I just want to make a difference in the world.”
With victims her own age in mind, Murphy said she knew those who will receive the goods will be appreciative.
Angie da Costa, who helped organize the donations and rally volunteers, said she was reminded of the impact an individual can have as a force for good.
“It takes one good person to say, ‘Woah, there is still hope for us,’” da Costa said. “I hope that I can be that person for someone sometimes too.”
On Saturday, Aug. 26, professional truck driver Heather Jones set out to Texas with her refrigerated semi-truck full of 24,000 servings of food for victims.
With experience driving through floods, she said she jumped at the chance to help. At one point, she endured flood waters up to eight feet to get the food to those in need.
The unity and diversity of people looking to help was striking, she said.
“Every race, religion, creed. Everyone was there,” Jones said. “It is tragedies like this that bring us together.”
In addition to these efforts, the local Disaster Animal Rescue/Recovery Team took an 18-wheeler full of supplies and headed for Houston as well.