Athens To Houston: Help Is On The Way

For Matt Rouse, helping out with Hurricane Harvey relief started with a phone call.

Rouse is a marriage and special events pastor at Cornerstone Church in Athens who was not content with standing by and watching the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Harvey happen without stepping in.

So Rouse called up a local McClane Company location, which agreed to donate a truck to Rouse and Cornerstone Church’s cause.

Then, he turned to the community.

“So we started an initiative where we blasted all over social media, sent out e-mails, got the word out through the public that we were filling out truck loads,” Rouse said.

The church is accepting just about any supplies that might be useful to those who have been displaced by the flooding in Houston.

That supplies will then be sorted, packed into the McClane truck, and shipped off to those who need it most.

“Right now, we’re just getting donations from everybody that comes in, and then we’re sorting it out to hygiene, cleaning supplies, baby supplies, boxed foods, canned foods,” said Josh Swindle, an employee of the church. “Just kind of separating it into a system that will allow us to get it on the truck the easiest, and for distribution in Houston to the people that need it the quickest.”

So far, Rouse said the response has been encouraging, but not surprising.

“Our community has always been really good to rally around a common cause, and Hurricane Harvey gave us a common cause.”

“It has really united our church people but also our community people. People just stepped up to the plate coming through with trucks and forklifts and you name it. Whatever we’ve needed, they’ve supplied it.”


Rouse said right now he’s focusing on collecting goods, but eventually he plans to recruit a team to help drive the truck to Houston to get the supplies directly to those in need.

It’s a big task, as many may have difficulty getting time off from work to make what would undoubtedly be a multi-day visit to the disaster-stricken area of Texas.

But based on the response he’s seen from the community so far, Rouse said he is not expecting to find any shortage of those willing to give to the cause.

People like Janet Geddis, the owner of Avid Bookshop, decided to donate a portion of the proceeds for that day to the Binc Foundation, which helps provide assistance to booksellers.

“The more we saw about the devastation in Texas and along the coast and [in] Louisiana, we thought let’s do something,” said Geddis.

The Binc Foundation provides assistance to one of the areas that might have been forgotten, such as booksellers.

“They work exclusively with independent bookstores and employees of independent bookstores for any kind of financial relief they might need. One of the things they focus on is disaster relief for bookstores and booksellers,” says Geddis.

Rouse and Geddis are both doing their part in disaster relief in Athens.  Here’s a look at some of the many people and organizations doing their part to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey ————-

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