J.J. Watt Provides 1-Year Update on Hurricane Harvey Relief, World-Record $41.6M

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2018

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt watches during warm ups before an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

One year after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Houston and south Texas, J.J. Watt provided an update on relief efforts from money raised in his record-setting crowdsourcing campaign.

Watt tweeted a statement Monday morning saying funds have provided repairs to and the rebuilding of over 600 homes and 420 childhood centers. More than 26,000,000 meals have been distributed to families affected by the tragedy, and more than 10,000 patients have received medication. 

“As I reflect on the events of Hurricane Harvey one year ago, the memories of destruction and devastation remain, but they are accompanied by memories of hope, selflessness and the beauty of the human spirit," Watt said in the statement. "The actions of professional first responders and everyday citizens alike were an inspiration to the world and a shining example of the inherent good that lies within us all."

Watt's GoFundMe began with a modest goal of $200,000 and wound up raising $41.6 million—a world record for a crowdsourcing effort. The funds have been distributed to All Hands and Hearts, Americares, Boys & Girls Clubs, Baker Ripley, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children and SBP.

"We go to some of the areas where we've rebuilt houses and we go and visit a house and I talked to one family, and I was looking at the houses around them that were still pretty beaten up," Watt told ESPN's Sarah Barshop. "They were like, 'We haven't seen those people since.' A lot of people literally abandoned their house, whether they went somewhere else or—so, I think that while if you look at everyday life for most people, you may say, 'Yeah, they're in working, regular order,' but I think there's still a lot of people going through a lot of stuff."

Watt said the plan for the next 12 months includes continuing the restoration of homes, providing temporary housing for those displaced and providing resiliency for future storms. There are also plans to rebuild and restore Boys & Girls Clubs damaged by the storm and provide mental and physical health assistance to people in need. 

"While a great deal has been accomplished in the past 12 months, there is still much work to be done," Watt said. "Moving forward, there will be more of the same, as we continue to work with our incredible nonprofit partners to provide as much help and support as we possibly can for those affected by Harvey. I cannot thank everyone enough for your support and generosity."

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