According to a recent Huffington Post and YouGov poll, “more than a third of Americans say they or someone they know has been affected by the flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey.”
Jet Foley, owner of Rendezvous in Old Town, better known as RIOT, is one such individual. Instead of contenting herself with giving to a charity or commiserating with friends, however, she is doing something that will directly impact afflicted people in her hometown of Spring, Texas, a suburb northwest of Houston.
Beginning Thursday, Aug. 31, Foley began using RIOT as a donation center, requesting items from the community including buckets, mops, brooms, dust pans, trashbags, large bleach bottles and other liquid cleaners, laundry detergent, diapers for all sizes and ages, toiletries [brushes, combs, shampoo, make-up, toothpaste, etc.], toilet paper, small toys for children, school supplies, towels, first-aid supplies and pet supplies.
“I grew up in north Houston,” Foley said. “I have family who live there and are all fine. I do have friends who have lost everything and can’t imagine what that would feel like. I also feel a terrible sadness for all friends or strangers who are displaced. I’ve been overwhelmed with how many have reached out, asking about my family’s safety. I know this community wants to help and I’m trying to offer a way.”
Offering these donated items would be enough for most people, but on Wednesday, Sept. 6, Foley will be taking off across state lines — “I leave Wednesday and will drive alone through New Mexico [then drop] into Houston from Dallas” — with a trailer, donated by Cottonwood residents Jesse Dowling and Kami Young-Dowling, in tow.
“I was talking with some regular customers at RIOT about feeling helpless and the idea of asking to borrow a trailer and collect stuff popped into my mind,” Foley said. “Couldn’t shake the idea, so I went to Facebook. Within minutes I had a trailer. My mom met with folks from her church and we talked about how I could best help. Seven families are totally devastated in Holy Comforter, the church I grew up going to.
“I wanted to make sure there would be a place for donations and the church is affiliated with a distribution center, too.”
According to Foley, the high school she graduated from, Klein Oak High School, is being used as a temporary shelter for people displaced by the hurricane and resulting flooding. Streets Foley drove through daily are now flooded, frequented by boat crews on their way to rescue neighbors and strangers alike. Foley said she hopes the donations she gathers will have a similarly positive impact on the community.
“[We] have received a huge outpouring of generosity,” Foley said, adding that she will be returning the following Monday.
RIOT, at 777 North Main St. in Cottonwood, is accepting donations. For more information, visit Riot in Old Town on Facebook, or call the establishment at 634-3777.
Relics Restaurant and Roadhouse hosted a Hurricane Harvey Sedona Benefit event Saturday, Sept. 2, from 6 to
9 p.m. No-cash donations including towels, blankets, clothes, child and adult diapers, shoes, medical supplies, over-the-counter medicines, toiletries, canned goods, can openers, non-perishable foods, baby formula, baby bottles, phone chargers, water, yoga mats, sleeping bags, pillows, children’s toys and pet supplies were collected. Local musicians Adara Blake and Anthony Mazzella played during the event.