NFL player says he has raised more than $13 million
Watt and teammates filling up semi-trucks with food, water and clothing
NFL player J.J. Watt has one message for victims of Hurricane Harvey, “we have your back.”
The Houston Texans defensive end said Thursday he has raised more than $13 million for Houston flood relief.
He started raising funds on Sunday with a goal of $200,000 and met that target within just two hours.
“The initial night, we broke the site, we couldn’t figure out how to get it back up and we somehow found the CEO’s phone number and called him at his house and got him out of bed,” Watt told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.” “He helped us fix the site and it got rolling.”
The four-time Pro Bowler continues to surpass and raise his targets. After Watt reached $10 million, he told Cooper that he set a new goal of $15 million and then will see how much more he could raise.
Watt went on to say his focus is on making sure he gets the funds directly to the people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“My first phase is what I’m doing is this weekend, my teammates and I have semi-trucks rolling in from out of town that we filled up,” Watt said. “We have about nine semi-trucks that are going to come to town. And we have those all filled with stocks, supplies, water, food, clothing, everything. So, we’re going to give that out this weekend.”
The JJ Watt Foundation is also holding a collection drive in his home state of Wisconsin for victims of the flooding. The foundation is asking for donations of blankets, non-perishable food items like peanut butter, fruit cups and tuna, plastic silverware and other items.
After dispersing supplies, Watt said he wants to regroup and devise a new plan for the millions he has raised and seek advice from individuals and organizations that have helped victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“I talked to some of the companies that helped out over there (in New Orleans) just to kind of get a glimpse of what went wrong, what went right, and how do you think we can do it best this time,” Watt said. “And I’ve gotten some really good information and the best thing that people have told me so far is take your time to make sure you do it right.”
Watt added that he wanted Houston residents to know he’s with them for the long haul.
“I’m not just here for the initial fundraiser,” Watt said. “I’m here to make sure that we take care of you down the road.”