THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Malcolm Brown needs a bigger truck.
The Los Angeles Rams running back and former University of Texas standout has been asking for donated items to help aid in the relief from Hurricane Harvey, the storm that has ravaged Houston and its surrounding areas since it made landfall on Texas’ Gulf Coast late Friday night. The idea came from his girlfriend Katelyne Sanders, who plans to drive from Southern California to Texas by Friday with supplies for those in need. At first they thought they would rent a van, but then the donations kept growing and they figured they needed a moving truck. Now they’re seeking an 18-wheeler.
By using their own connections and reaching out to local businesses, Brown and Sanders have been able to round up nearly 300 cases of water and an assortment of other items — diapers, dog food, sleeping bags, toiletries, etc. — in a matter of two days, with donations growing quickly. Brown resides in San Antonio, about 200 miles from Houston. That’s where Rams nose tackle Michael Brockers was born, raised and still lives.
“If that huge, devastating hurricane was three hours to the left, it would be right there in San Antonio, and we would want somebody to help us out,” Brown said. “A lot of friends are from Houston, and I know my lady has some family out there and stuff like that. It hit home a little bit.”
Brockers’ entire family lives in Houston and has been able to remain safe through the storm. As of Tuesday evening, the Houston Chronicle is reporting that more than 20 people have died or are feared dead in the Houston area as a result of flooding triggered by Harvey. Several rain gauges southeast of downtown Houston reported more than 48 inches of rain from Harvey, and the National Weather Service said Tuesday that Cedar Bayou, Texas — on the Gulf of Mexico — recorded 51.88 inches, a new record in the continental United States.
Brown began a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $20,000 and is looking for someone in the Los Angeles area who can lend a warehouse to temporarily store all the supplies they have gathered. In the meantime, the Rams are offering the second floor of their offices in Agoura Hills, California, as a drop-off location.
Brockers started a fundraiser with the goal of raising $90,000, which will go to first responders and the United Way of Greater Houston.
— Michael Brockers (@MichaelBrockers) August 30, 2017
The Rams will auction two packages at NFL.com on Wednesday, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. One is a suite for their season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 10, which holds 34 guests, comes with food and beverage and includes a visit from one of the Rams Hall of Famers who will be honored at the game. The other package includes four tickets and four pregame field passes to that game, in addition to a game-worn jersey from Brockers.
Brockers’ family is doing what it always does during storms like these — staying at his grandmother’s house, which has somehow been able to avoid flooding for decades.
“A lot of the areas that they show are terrible, and my prayers go out for them,” said Brockers, who owns a home in Houston. “Luckily enough, my family is in a pretty decent area where they’re not truly getting affected. They’re a little trapped in their neighborhood, but they’re not getting flooding in their homes or anything.”