East Texans gather supplies to bring to Harden County flood victims

East Texans gather supplies to bring to Harden County flood victims
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - If you were shopping at the Sam's Club in Lufkin, you might have seen a group of men asking for grocery donations for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

However, instead of Houston, these East Texans are going to Hardin County, an area that was hit just as hard. And, according to one of the men, Walter McKinney, they won't be going empty handed.

"One of the first men that walked in gave us a thousand dollars and said go buy what you need," said McKinney. "Another one came along and handed us two one hundred dollar bills and said go get what you need. They're buying full carts of stuff for us. A case of water, toilet paper, that kind of thing."

McKinney, the creator of Mantle Ministries, arranged the trip when he found out the desperate situation, that many people in Hardin County were facing.

"The ones that I've been able to talk to on the phone have told me that they're out of groceries," said McKinney. "They bought for four or five days, but now they're at a point where it's going to be two or three days before the rain stops. And, some of them just have nothing, So, we're going to get it to them today."

It didn't take long for McKinney to find others willing to help. Ricky Colle, the chief of the Garrison Fire Department, and his men volunteered to go all the way.

"We was trying to put together a group to go down and do some rescues," said Colle. "This guy made a phone call and called us and asked us if we could boat in food, so that's what we decided to do."

Robby Wagner with Sam's Club felt compelled to offer up his store as center of donations.

"We want to help the community as best we can," Wagner said. "And, we're pretty blessed here in that we're far enough away that we're not getting heavily affected by this yet."

The Sam's Club in Lufkin has even helped out closer to home.

"We are obviously a membership-based business, but that limits who can shop," said Wagner. "And, so we wanted to eliminate that limitation. So, we took away our membership fee for the rest of this week."

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