Although all eyes are now focused on Hurricane Irma developing off the coast of South Florida, those in Texas who were affected by Harvey are still trying to get used to their new normal. Enter Tracy McGrady.
The ex-NBA player, who now lives in the Houston suburbs, made things just a little better for people living in Houston’s heavily flooded Third Ward and Sunnyside neighborhoods when he and his wife, CleRenda, decided to host a Labor Day barbecue for them.
“We wanted to be able to give back,” CleRenda McGrady, who works as a life coach at Project P.U.S.H., told the Houston Chronicle on Monday.
The McGradys were lucky during the storm. Situated on a hill, their Sugar Land house was spared from flooding. Despite not experiencing the turmoil first hand, they saw enough on television to know they wanted to do something for the recovery effort.
“There are a lot of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. What was important to us was to serve an area that already needed an extra boost,” CleRenda McGrady continued. “That’s why we decided to come to this particular area: to show them some extra love. Labor Day is all about barbecue, so we wanted to bring the barbecue to them.”
“We put it together in less than 24 hours,” Tracy McGrady added of the event that reportedly fed 800 people at Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Monday. “The biggest thing is to get people away from the devastation to bring some happiness, some joyous times and some laughter. We all need that.”
McGrady is just one of several sports stars to participate in the Harvey recovery efforts.
Most famously, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt has managed to raise nearly $20 million online for the victims. Watt started the fund on the crowdsourcing website YouCaring.com last week, calling the fund “a testament to how much good there is in the world.” He first set a goal of raising $200,000, but by Tuesday morning, the fund had raised $19.7 million thanks to 182,440 donors. Among the biggest donors were talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, rapper Drake and the Tennessee Titans.
The money is already being used to buy and distribute food to those in need.
Meanwhile, former baseball star Curt Schilling, who is now a podcast host with the conservative website Breitbart, organized a more modest, but just as labor intensive way to help. He loaded up a trailer with diapers, food and cash donations near his home in Boston and helped drive it to Beaumont, Tex., where the goods were distributed Sunday and Monday.
“Dispensed around 4000$ into hands of actual victims of this nightmare today,” Schilling wrote Monday on his Facebook page, where he’s been documenting his journey. “So God Bless every lemonade stand and donation you have made.”
Schilling indicated that, like much of the country, he’s not turned his eye toward Irma. He said if the hurricane does make landfall in South Florida, he doesn’t plan to wait till it’s over to help.
“If [Irma] … tracks to Fla I will be leaving [Texas] Friday to pre stage north of Fla.,” he wrote. “I am going to need a legit boat and trailer and am hopefully going to be able to entice [Bass] pro shops (who’ve already been amazing!) to either loan me one or help out. If needed I will pay but will need that and a trailer to be prepared for Irma. … I have family there so not going is not an option.”