GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohioans are stepping up to help Texans in need.
Last week’s historic winter storm left families without heat and power. It also became a challenge to find food and safe drinking water even as temperatures warm up.
It all started with a Facebook post from a local truck driver, asking people to help him fill a semi with supplies which he would then drive to Texas.
Now, the help is pouring in.
Courtney Kiser is a bartender at the Time Zone in Grove City and Brad Hayes, the truck driver, owns a local trucking company.
Kiser has been working with her friends to collect food, water, clothes, donations, anything that is needed in Texas.
Though power is starting to come back in the Lone Star state and the temperature is warming up, many are still under boil water advisories and many store shelves remain empty.
Kiser and Hayes have only been collecting donations for about a day and a half and already they have raised more than $1,300 as well as big piles of goods and supplies.
The plan is to keep collecting through Wednesday and have everything loaded into the semi and in Texas by next weekend.
“It gives me goosebumps even talking about it, just thinking, even from a parent’s perspective, I couldn’t imagine any child, mother, being without anything,” Kiser said. “I would be devastated, so anything we could do to help, why not?”
“They were showing pictures of empty store shelves and they were building fires around water lines and I thought, ‘Man, somebody’s got to do something, somebody’s got to help,” Hayes added.
Several businesses in Grove City are also joining in on the efforts.
“Everyone’s trying their best just to get by,” said Katye Cook, who lives in central Texas.
Cook’s in-laws are from central Ohio, and she was one of the millions who lost power and water for several days amid brutal cold and a winter storm that hit about a week ago.
Before going to her sister’s home, she and her husband had their 2-year-old in two layers of fleece inside their home.
“It’s the worst feeling, especially because my husband and I have a young kiddo, he’s two,” Cook said. “And we don’t ever get cold like this down here.”
While there are still others without power and water, Cook’s family has both back, adding the situation is getting better by the day, but necessities are hard to find.
“The stores are completely wiped out, no milk, eggs, bread, it’s all gone,” she said.
It’s this situation that prompted Hayes to offer his truck.
“Them people are in a world right now that they’re not used to and if we can help, we’ll help as much as we can,” he said.
Kiser’s trunk is full of cans of soup, the back of the Time Zone full of food, water and other donations. She’s organizing collection efforts with her friends.
“Imagine as a parent that you’re sitting there and going, ‘What can I do,’ and there’s nothing you can do,” said Grove City resident Heidi Robinson. “So why not, for the rest of us here, and I know I speak for all of us, it’s like, well, if we can help, why not?”
The list of Grove City businesses participating in collecting the donations is:
- The Time Zone, 2360 Stringtown Road
- Southern Columbus CrossFit, 5320 Krieger Court
- Indulgence Hair Salon, 3387 McDowell Road
- Maurices, 1731 Stringtown Road
- OH-YO, 4226 Buckeye Parkway
- Jolly Pirate Donuts, 3118 Southwest Boulevard