After Harvey hammered East Texas, J.J. Watt set out to raise $200,000 to help people in need. Instead, he raised more than $37 million – and now he’s distributing the bulk of the donations to four handpicked Houston-area charities to the money to good use.
The funds will go toward healthcare, childcare, rebuilding homes and feeding people.
The Houston Texans star thanked donors on Twitter on Thursday and said the relief efforts will last up to two years – and he promised to give updates of the progress along the way.
Splitting $30 million will be AmeriCares, Save the Children, Feeding America and the disaster recovery group SBP.
The money will “be deployed over the course of the next 18-24 months,” Watt said. “These funds will be used to rebuild homes, restore child-care centers, provide food and address health needs of those affected most by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the surrounding areas.”
He added: “The remaining $7 million will be set aside for distribution in 2018 as we continue to assess and analyze the evolving relief efforts.”
Here are details about the four major recipients:
Purpose: Address the physical and mental health needs of disaster survivors and restore health services to the most vulnerable in Houston and the surrounding areas. Americares has relationships with 26 community clinics in and around Houston, with which they work to provide medicine, supplies and other assistance. The funds provided to Americares will be used for medicines, mental health services, mobile medical services and medical supplies.
Purpose: Direct support for Feeding America member food banks serving Southeast Texas – the Houston Food Bank, Coastal Bend Food Bank (Corpus Christi), Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria) and Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont). Combined, these food banks serve people in need in 48 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey. In addition to the direct support for these four highly-affected food banks, the funds will provide mobile food pantries to help increase food distribution to people in need and help rebuild food distribution programs and agencies across the region.
Purpose: Returning homeowners to their homes following a disaster. The funds donated to SBP will go directly towards the rebuilding of hundreds of homes in Houston and the surrounding areas. SBP is the national leader in long-term disaster recovery serving low-to-moderate income residents with a particular focus on the most vulnerable members of the community, including families with small children, the elderly, physically-challenged persons, veterans and under or uninsured individuals. SBP will also help train and support other organizations in the area, such as Team Rubicon, to implement SBP’s model for effective and efficient rebuilding.
SAVE THE CHILDREN
Purpose: Support child-care, early-education and after-school program service restoration. Early results from assessments on the 4,500 child-care programs in the affected areas show that an estimated 1,400 child-care and early-learning sites have been damaged or destroyed. Save the Children will use the donated funds to directly restore, rebuild and provide support for these child-care centers and other services that families depend on across Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur and the many other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.