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North valley residents team up to help hurricane victims

9/6/17

ANTHEM – Thousands of people have been displaced by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, and around the country, organizations and individuals are doing whatever they can to help. Truckloads of goods to donate to hurricane victims were collected in Anthem and the surrounding area last week, and a team drove to Texas over the weekend and delivered the donations.

Frank Marquez spearheaded the local donation plan, working to coordinate getting as much help as possible to the relief effort. Marquez, who is Operations Manager for a local business owned by Tim Fyke, asked for a truck to drive to the Houston area so he could deliver needed items and help those who have lost everything to the hurricane. Marquez and Fyke discussed what could be done to help and reached out to community managers with whom they work, as well as their team, to see if they could help. The response was immediate – everyone started chipping in, with donations of money, needed goods, and time.

The Fyke family promoted the drive through social media, and the community response took off. The family stored collected donations in their garage in their Anthem home. Donations began arriving immediately, and by the second day, Fyke said, just in Anthem, “I don’t think we went more than 20 minutes during the day on Thursday in which someone wasn’t coming by with a donation. It was amazing.”

Everyone gave what they could, and donations of bottled water, non-perishable food, toiletries, diapers, baby formula, pet items, and more were collected. One company delivered three box trucks’ worth of goods for donation.

Marquez’ wife worked tirelessly to coordinate the trip, Fyke noted. She used multiple sources to determine what routes would be available, where the convoy could stop for gas, and who was in the most need of donations at that time. As the donations grew, so did the need for more vehicles to make the trip; a local company donated another trailer, and a truck was rented for the journey. Fyke said that over 60 people volunteered to help sort the goods and pack them in the trailers and truck for delivery. The driving team left for Houston at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning.

The main location planned for drop-off was unable to take donations, and the team moved on to their backup location, a “Mattress Mack” furniture store. This store opened its doors to those in need of food and shelter, turning the furniture store into a shelter for storm victims. NPR noted in an Aug. 29 article that Mattress Mack owner Jim McIngvale told NPR them that the stores were housing 400 people. Donations were desperately needed, and the Anthem team headed over.

“While they were unloading and afterwards they had a chance to talk to people in line for help as they had nothing left of their homes,” Fyke said. “Sarah spoke with a single mom of two kids that lost everything. Frank talked with the guys who worked for Mack’s and heard how they had prepared in advance not only to take people in but also to help those that might need help from flooding, etc. My guys said the stories made them all choke back tears but they also saw how amazing it was to see everyone come together to help their fellow man in a time of true need.”