The people of southeastern Minnesota stepped up Wednesday and donated $130,488 to KTTC and FOX 47's "Time to Care" emergency drive for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
The one-day emergency campaign was in response to the catastrophic flooding and evacuations caused by Hurricane Harvey across southeast Texas and now Louisiana. So far, 32 people are confirmed dead because of the storm, the latest Clementine Thomas, who died Wednesday afternoon when the car she was driving was swept from Texas 87, about 60 miles northeast of Beaumont. The sheriff said several people risked their lives trying to save her, but were not successful. Her body was recovered Thursday.
Some 30,000 people have been protected in shelters across Texas after the hurricane slammed to landfall late Friday night. Houston, relatively flat, has been hit the hardest with flooding which has driven more and more people to shelters. Thursday morning, the Houston fire department began a block to block search for more victims.
The "Time to Care" emergency drive was conducted outside of the four HyVee food stores in metro Rochester, with donations also being accepted at the HyVee stores in Austin and Albert Lea. There was a steady stream of people coming by to donate all day long at all of the Rochester locations, staffed by KTTC and FOX 47 staff members, and Red Cross volunteers.
One man named Harvey made a stunning donation of $50,000 telling KTTC's Shannon Bolte that "Harvey down in Florida...Texas, is no good, you know? Anyway, I know that it'll go to help the people. That's what I want. Not an object or thing or place. It's the people that count. That's what I want, and that's what I hope for."
Another astonishing thing--donations of entire piggy banks by children, determined to make a difference for people they don't know and will never meet.
The total for the "Time to Care" drive grew by nearly $5,000 after donations made outside the Rochester area were added in, along with the coins donated, including those piggy bank savings.
"What an amazing day! Once again, we're reminded of the generosity and caring of people throughout Southeast Minnesota who came forward to give today," said Melanie Tschida, Executive Director of the American Red Cross/SE Minnesota. "The Hurricane Harvey relief efforts will be bolstered by these dollars as we put them to work to meet immediate needs in Texas and Louisiana. Thank you so much to the folks at KTTC and FOX 47 and everyone who came out to HyVee to donate today!"
The American Red Cross said 91 cents of every dollar donated will go directly to those who need emergency shelter and help in the region hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.