A group of Muncie and Indianapolis residents are preparing to head to Texas to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Al Holdren, along with four other Muncie residents and one from Indianapolis, are leaving Wednesday. He and his team will be providing food and supplies in communities where other organizations may not be.
"We try to go places where nobody else has been, where they don’t have supplies, they don’t have resources. Houston is the darling of the flood, but there are lots of communities around,” Holdren said. “We just like being the boots on the ground because it’s kind of who we are, it’s kind of what we like to do. Some people have other hobbies, this is a big hobby for many of us.
Holdren said there are many resources in Houston, such as churches, but often times residents don't know where they are located, or don't have a way to get there since their cars are flooded.
Toyota of Muncie is providing the group with two vehicles that will be packed with supplies. The company is also covering the fuel cost, allowing all the money that is raised to go directly to hurricane victims.
“There’s just a lot of things that they have to pay for that have to come out of expenses, so maybe only 50 cents of every dollar that I would throw in actually gets shoes on people’s feet, food in their mouths or blankets to them,” Holdren said. “So because of that, I like knowing that everybody who donates money to us to take along with us, I know that that money is going to get turned into pork, it’s going to get turned into gloves, shovels or whatever they need.”
Holdren and his team will work daylight until dark, approximately 16 hours a day. Holdren says looters come out at night and police security tightens, so the team plans go to areas not affected by price gouging to buy more supplies and fill the vehicles with fuel for the next day.
Rocky Fuller, a chef at Redemption Alewerks in Indianapolis, felt called to join the team after the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornadoes. Fuller traveled to Joplin where he met Holdren, and the two have since gone on several disaster missions together.
“It’s just something that I feel like I need to do for people, you know? In a situation like this, people have lost everything for the most part, and it’s hard for me to sit back and watch it and feel good about myself when I know other people are struggling, and I love to cook,” Fuller said. “I have the time and the resources … so when things like this happen, we just love on people.”
The team brings mobile smokers for meat and cook for the community that they’re in. Meals include a pulled pork BBQ dinner with cole slaw, beans, pie and a drink.