Platte Valley senior collects donations to take to hurricane victims | MyWindsorNow.com

Platte Valley senior collects donations to take to hurricane victims

Trevor Reid
treid@greeleytribune.com

As Garrett Thompson sat on the couch Sunday night with his father, glued to Hurricane Harvey coverage, they started talking about what they could do to help the people of Texas.

Less than a week later, they've got piles of donations sorted out.

"Back in '13, people from all over the country came and helped us out here in Colorado, so why not give back and help out people in Texas?" Garrett said.

The hurricane's powerful winds and devastating flooding has taken at least 39 lives. Harvey dumped about 20 trillion gallons of rain on the Houston area. UNC spokesman Nate Haas said about 200 students enrolled at University of Northern Colorado come from Texas. He said campus officials are still assessing whether any students were adversely affected by the hurricane. They've heard from one student affected by the hurricane as of Friday evening.

After the 2013 flood left Garrett and his family unable to get to their house for about a week, he said he knows the kind of devastation flooding can cause. Though they didn't experience too much damage to their property, Garrett said he knows they were lucky.

"I had a lot of friends that were affected by the flood," the Platte Valley High School senior said. "That's kind of what got me into this."

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Garrett is gathering donations he and his father will take to the Corpus Christi area south of Houston on Sept. 10. They have a donation drop-off site accepting donations until Sept. 8 at the Fort Lupton Recreation Center, 203 S. Harrison Ave. On Sept. 9, when Garrett will turn 18, they'll sort out the donations and prepare to head down to Texas. Garrett said they're looking to get donations to an area where not as many people are focusing relief efforts, but help is still needed. Garrett picked up pallets of boxes from Sam's Club to sort the donations and deliver them with ease. They plan on spending just a couple days in Texas to drop off the donations.

Myranda Wright moved to The Woodlands just north of Houston in June 2013. She was born and raised in Greeley. Wright wasn't evacuated, but she's seen neighborhoods with 80 to 100 homes completely underwater in the past week. Parts of the heart of Houston are still completely underwater, she said.

"It's just neighborhood after neighborhood, street after street of complete devastation where the homes are having to be completely gutted," she said.

Wright said the floodwater contains bacteria that mean anything that can't be sanitized has to be thrown out, including furniture.

"Cleaning supplies are in huge need," she said. "Bleach, buckets, mops, masks — because of the smell and the bacteria is so bad that you're not supposed to breathe it in."

Wright said pet food, baby supplies and other items people don't normally have stored up for donations are in high demand. Wright spent Thursday and Friday with about 14 other people cleaning out just one house. As of Friday morning, they still weren't even close to done.

"The recovery process is huge," she said.

Garrett and his family said they'll assess what item donations they've received next week and plan to use cash donations to buy whatever else they can. Cleaning supplies are on the list, they said.

Garrett's uncle supplied a 26-foot enclosed trailer, and a coworker of Garrett's father will go down with them in a truck full of supplies as well. They aren't looking for anymore used clothing, Garrett's father, Will, said. Motioning to a large pile of water bottles, Will Thompson said they're also not taking anymore water than they already have — it's just too heavy. Garrett's mother, Tina, said the donations have been an emotional sight.

"It's a little bit overwhelming," Tina Thomspon said. "I've actually held the tears back myself this morning."

How to help

Garrett Thompson and his father are planning a trip Sept. 10 to take donations to areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. They’re looking to collect cleaning supplies, diapers, non-perishable food, formula, toiletries and more. They’re no longer accepting water or clothing. Donations can be dropped off until Sept. 8 at the Fort Lupton Recreation Center, 203 S. Harrison Ave.

Other ways to help

Jackie Serbantez, a former Lubbock, Texas, resident, is also helping organize a donations drive in northern Colorado. They’re accepting new empty gas cans, diapers, bottled water, noncarbonated drinks, nonperishable foods, toilet paper, pet food and more. Donations may be dropped off at any of the following sites until Sept. 15:

Isaac Williams State Farm, 2513 11th Ave. in Greeley.

Safelite Auto Glass, 2502 10th St. in Greeley.

Otero Corporation, 1204 Ash St., No. 1 in Windsor.

Donations can also be picked up by appointment by contacting Adria or Dolores with Otera Corporation at (970) 460-0385 or (970) 347-0000.

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