In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Houston institutions are jumping in to to help their community. While some (notably Joel Osteen) seemed to take a few days to recognize the need, Mattress Mack immediately stepped up.
As the floodwaters rose, Houstonian Jim McIngvale, known as Mattress Mack, decided to turn his shop, Gallery Furniture, into a makeshift shelter, making all his showroom’s bedroom sets into real bedrooms. So he posted a video online and sent out a few tweets inviting anyone in need to come on over. He even gave out his personal phone number.
— MattressMack (@MattressMack) August 29, 2017
And they came by the hundreds to sleep on the recliners, love seats, sofas, and even mattresses, filling the stores he purposefully built to be flood-proof.
Our GF N FWRY & GF Grand PKWY stores are open for those in need. If you can safely join us, we invite you for shelter and food. God Bless. pic.twitter.com/IHHgjKmjMY
— MattressMack (@MattressMack) August 28, 2017
When people were trapped by flood waters and couldn’t make it to his stores, he turned his delivery trucks into rescue squads, sending out his drivers to save the stranded. Per CNN, his crews rescued around 200 people and brought them to his stores. McIngvale’s shops are now at capacity—he told NPR’s All Things Considered on Monday that 400 people were living at both of his stores.
McIngvale is an old hand at this—when Hurricane Katrina hit 12 years ago, he opened his stores to anyone seeking shelter. Now, locals are bringing donations to his stores, now an official shelter, and according to CNN, the store’s entrance is filled with neatly folded towels, shoes, clothes, and toys donated by locals to help those in need.