Casa Grande residents loading semi-truck with donations to send to Harvey victims

Posted at 9:27 PM, Sep 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-03 12:43:32-04

What started as a family's desire to help victims of Hurricane Harvey is turning into a community-wide effort.

Tina Cates saw the devastation in Texas and wanted to help, despite having no direct connection to the region. She and her two daughters planned to pack supplies into the family's SUV and drive from their home in Casa Grande to Texas, but donations kept showing up.

"It's a community effort, it's just not even a team effort," Cates said. "Every person has such a big role to play."

Cates is using her photography studio in the 400 block of Florence Street essentially as a staging area for boxes of food, water, and medical supplies.

"I think they would do it for us," Cates said. "We're Americans, that's what we do. We see people in trouble, we help them."

Cates will gather donations through Monday and then head to Texas on Tuesday. She told ABC15 a local transport company is providing a semi truck. So far, they have 7 pallets loaded onto the truck - and counting. She is speaking with a Pastor in Bay City, Texas, and plans to head there to distribute the items to families in need.

"We're a small town and we want to help small town people," Cates said.

The effort is growing by the day. On Saturday night, roughly a dozen members of the community were working in the studio, sorting donations and packing boxes. The Paramount Theatre next door is helping to solicit donations by advertising the effort on the Marquee out front.

"It's our fellow Americans, why not help them?" said Deborah Martin, who owns the Paramount Theatre.

Once she arrives alongside the donations in Texas, Cates plans to stream the distribution on Facebook Live, so people who donated items can see the items making their way into the community.