In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Sen. Willie Simmons called on the Delta to help with relief efforts for the thousands of displaced people of Houston, TX, and the Delta answered.
An 18-wheeler truck and a U-Haul were filled to capacity with items, such as water, diapers, and clothing.
“I’m elated,” said Simmons. “The fact that I put a call out last week and started this effort on Tuesday to try to do some good for the citizens who have been effected by Harvey. We put a call out and they responded. By Friday at 5 o’clock, we had filled a 53-feet trailer and had to go rent a U-Haul in order take the other things that we’ve received.”
Simmons said people continued to donate over the weekend, and now the U-Haul truck is also full.
“Individuals are still saying they want to give. If you look on the ground, we have water and clothing that we are not able to send, so the citizens of the Mississippi Delta are very hospitable and are willing to give,” added Simmons.
Simmons is working with Kimbourgh Transports to deliver the items to Houston.
Driver Armeil Galloway said he was in Houston all last week and has seen the devastation first hand.
“Right now a lot of people are going without the necessaries because they lost everything, and it’s just a pleasure and an honor to go down there and be a blessing to those in need.
“Coming from Mississippi that we can be able to help is truly a blessing. I’m grateful to the lord to be able to go down there. It’s not about money or (personal gain) it’s all about helping those in need,” said Galloway.
Dozens of community members came out Sunday to help load items, including Annie Harris. She too said was amazed at the response from citizens of the Delta.
“I think the people in Mississippi have done a fantastic thing. They were very generous to be able to do these things because they came from all around, Not just in Bolivar County, but Sunflower County, Washington County, Leflore County, even as far as DeSoto County,” she said.
“So all the Mississippians in this area have been able to come together to help these people and I feel very happy and honored to be able to stand here and say that,” said Harris.
Harris added Simmons and cooks from the restaurant would leave at 5 a.m. Monday to go to Houston and would feed people while there.
“While we are unloading these two trucks, we’re going to cook a good Mississippi barbecue for Texans, who say they have the best barbecue in the world. We’re going to show them how Mississippians barbecue and give them some great food,” said Simmons.
The meal will consist of pulled pork, grilled chicken, baked beans and cold slaw and much more. The senator said they are going to have enough food to feed roughly 1,000 to 1,200 people.
“We are very grateful and we appreciate our heavenly father to be able to do it and have the leadership to be able to coordinate it, but the thanks also go to the donors who put these items on the truck. Individuals, who didn’t know anything about loading a truck, came down and sorted things, and we exceed what we have anticipated, so thanks to the people, “said Simmons.
When asked if there are plans to help victim of Hurricane Irma, which made land over the weekend, the senator said this wasn’t his first rodeo.
Simmons said he helped provide relief items for those effected Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti, and will do so with Irma as well.
Delta State University also sent a massive donation of items to Texas when its drive came to a close Thursday.
“The service project received an enormous response, and thousands of relief items were collected on the Delta State campus,” said Caitlyn Thompson, president of the Administrative Staff Council. “Items included bottled water, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, baby needs, personal hygiene items, paper towels, toilet paper, linens, pet food and much more.”
The items were collected and packed into vehicles Thursday and then delivered to Texas by local initiative leaders.
“The mission of the project was to provide support to those in need after the natural disaster,” added Thompson. “The project aligned with one of Staff Council’s stated purposes, which is to give back to the community through service projects and volunteer work. The demonstrated support for this project is just one example of how the DSU family gives back beyond the educational sector.”
Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and options to the president.