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Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Donations abound following Hurricane Harvey


As of today, UH has received only 35 boxes, but coach Sampson expects that number to rise significantly once the postal system starts back up again. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar.

Hurricane Harvey may have brought death and destruction to Southeast Texas, but it also brought out the best in people wanting to help the country get back on its feet.

Basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson tweeted a call for donations of t-shirts and shoes on Aug. 28, sparking a huge response from around the country.

“The school has received more than 1,300 commitments from all over the country, and that’s just from twitter,” Sampson said. “We are anticipating north of 125,000 t-shirts and somewhere around 20,000 pairs of shoes.”

As of today, the school has received only 35 boxes, but team spokesperson Jeff Conrad said they expect that number to rise significantly once the mail system starts back up again.

The first packages arrived Sept. 2 and members of the men’s Basketball team helped unpack and sort the apparel by size in the Great Hall of the Athletics/Alumni Center.

“I sent out a text on Saturday and said you guys that are in town that can come up to the Alumni center, come on,” Sampson said. “Then when I come up here we have 10 of our team members. Not only that, but our coaching staff — John Houston who had to evacuate his house because it got flooded, him and his wife were here.”

Coaches and their families, including assistant coach Kellen Sampson who brought his wife and newborn, came to help unpack the boxes, Sampson said.

An overwhelming number of schools answered the call on twitter, and have been tweeting Sampson for the past few days to show their support and items that they are sending.

Sampson and his team are not the only Cougars who have been busy gathering donations this past week. Football head coach Major Applewhite and his team have been doing their part to gather as many supplies as they can.

Schools from across the state answered Applewhite’s call to provide aid in true Texas style. They not only brought supplies, but used their 18-wheeler equipment trucks to transport their donations to Austin, and then to Houston.

The team set up donation locations in the north and south side of Austin on Thursday and asked all Texas teams with home games and available equipment trucks that weekend to participate, said team spokesman David Bassity in a press release.

Recommended donations included non-perishable food items, snacks, personal care products, cleaning supplies, paper products and infant supplies, Bassity said.

A total of seven team trucks rolled out from the two collection points around 7 a.m. Friday and traveled back to Houston via Hwy. 290. Participating schools included the University of Texas, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University and Texas Tech University, Bassity said.

“It just shows you it’s not a UH thing, it’s a Texas thing,” Applewhite said to ESPN radio. “It’s people having pride in wanting to help people.”

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