When Fred Teague and William Brewer with the Arkansas-based nonprofit, RussBus, saw the devastation from Harvey in the greater Houston area, they leapt into action.
RussBus is an organization dedicated to helping homeless people. They realized Houston’s homeless population likely lost all of the few possessions they may have had.
Teague and Brewer acquired a box truck, named it the Big Yellow Box of Hope, and drove from Arkansas to Houston.
“Our main goal was getting to Houston to help the homeless,” Teague said. “We hit the ground Monday night and got organized. Then, we hit downtown Houston Tuesday, but realized it was too crazy to work there during the day because of the traffic.”
Teague and Brewer started reaching out to find other ways in which RussBus could help the people of Houston and surrounding areas during the day. They were eventually put into contact with Huffman ISD, where several students who were affected by Harvey are in need of items like shoes and socks.
RussBus was able to provide approximately $2,300 for goods needed by Huffman ISD students Thursday, Sept. 7.
“Mr. Teague said, ‘We’re headed your way. Go shopping and select things at Payless, and we’ll go by and pick it up,'” said Shirley Dupree, executive director of human resources and communications for Huffman ISD. “So, we got a group together, went to Payless and they gave us a fabulous discount of shoes and socks.”
From there, the group met up with Teague and Brewer at Walmart, where they were able to get even more supplies. Together, they loaded up the day’s purchases into the Big Yellow Box of Hope, and drove it back to Huffman ISD.
“We hear stories of people coming in to help from out of state, but this is the first time I’ve actually met someone doing it,” Dupree said. “When you’re actually the one touched by their mission, it’s a whole ‘nother level of emotion. This is so much more than the things we’re getting. It’s an inspiration and belief in the kindness of humanity.”
In total, the funds were able to purchase approximately 134 pairs of shoes, as well as socks, underwear, and toiletries.
“(Huffman’s) a small area, so where there may be enough resources in Houston in larger demographics, they just haven’t always made it into the smaller areas yet,” Teague said. “There are people getting overlooked. Our purpose is doing this is to get in here and give people hope. We want you to know that we love you and value you.”
Dupree feels this serves not only as a means by which to help students in need but also as a greater lesson about providing help to others when it is needed.
“It teaches our kids and the community that there are genuine people who want to reach out and help during a tragedy like this,” Dupree said. “In turn, when there is a tragedy in other places, hopefully, our community will go and help – we stand ready to help others when they need us.”