Since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, southwest metro residents have rallied together to raise money and collect items for relief efforts.

Some have even traveled the 1,000+ miles to Houston to help relief effort, showing Minnesotans know how to rally to support others.

Hunter Cantrell

Alec Stewart, left, and Hunter Cantrell, of Savage, pose with a trailer full of supplies the two drove south to the Houston area. Cantrell said he felt compelled to act after hearing reports of the current conditions in the flood-ridden region.

Hunter Cantrell, 22, gathered a trailer full of supplies and drove down to Beaumont, Texas, despite being in the chemotherapy process to treat Hodgkin Lymphoma. Alongside his friend, Alec Stewart, they handed out water and toiletries to neighbors whose water had been cutoff for fear of contamination.

“I felt that if there was one person that was suffering in our society, that it’s all of our duties to see what we can do to lend a hand,” Cantrell said.


Kasondra and Kenny Rogers packed an entire truck with donations and headed down to Garland, Texas on Sept. 3.

Just like Cantrell and Stewart, Kasondra Rogers of Inver Grove Heights didn’t have experience in disaster relief.

But with the help of her aunt, Dani Leininger of Prior Lake, and other family members, Rogers filled a truck headed to Houston.

“I just woke up one day and decided I wanted to do this,” she said.

First responders from Minnesota were also on the ground in Texas. Ryan Quinn from Chanhassen and Donna Lebens from Shakopee are two local paramedics who provided medical assistance.

NECHAMA Hurricane Harvey Response

Staff from NECHAMA, a Jewish disaster relief organization based in St. Louis Park, “muck and gut” a Texas home damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. They will soon be joined by volunteers, including many from the southwest metro of the Twin Cities.

One St.Louis Park-based organization, NECHAMA, a Jewish disaster relief group, has planned for six months’ worth of deployments to Texas. Now, they’re also planning teams to help with Hurricane Irma relief in Florida.

David Kaplan, executive director of NECHAMA, said the group has been “inundated” with individuals and groups interested in volunteering.

“We’re all going to really have to come together as a community and a country to pull through this one,” he said.

Houston victims

Anna McShane of Victoria stops at the parking lot of Kowalski’s in Excelsior to donate funds for Hurricane Harvey flood victims. She placed cash in a fishbowl fundraiser held by Sean Gorstayn, 10, and Jessica Katof, 10.

But not everyone can provide in-person relief. Minnesotans have also done their part to help from home. Two Minnetonka-area 10-year-olds raised more than $1,000 for relief efforts in one week. Three schools from the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district are collecting school supplies for Houston-area students.

The city of Savage has also chipped in by sending shirts for child survivors in need of clothing.

MyPillow, whose headquarters is in Chaska and manufacturing is in Shakopee, has sent trucks filled with more than 80,000 pillows to the Houston area.

With 130 employees in Houston, the Minnetonka-based Cargill donated $150,000 to the Red Cross and Feeding America food banks. It also donated 150 tons of animal feed to veterinary efforts for affected animals.

Digital Content Coordinator

Jo Herrera is the digital content coordinator for all SWN newspapers and focuses on investigations. They are passionate about online and in-person community engagement. Jo also plays roller derby, does yoga and pampers their two cats and two bunnies.