For Connie Watt, who is actually vice president of her son’s Justin J. Watt Foundation, as well as also her helpers, in which has meant day after day of counting the money pouring in. On top of in which, Ms. Watt has turned Pewaukee High School, the alma mater of J. J. as well as also his two brothers, into a giant pantry for relief supplies. The drive got so big in which she had to organize a second pickup location in Janesville, Wis., about 30 miles away.
today she has to develop a game plan to redistribute all of This kind of generosity to people suffering more than 1,000 miles away.
“I had no idea, obviously, what the item was going to turn into,” Ms. Watt said in a phone interview. “We knew in which the item could be well received as well as also he carries a great following, yet not to This kind of level. We had no idea.”
Her former career in finance as well as also banking gave Ms. Watt some of the tools she needs to direct the huge fund-raiser she is actually suddenly responsible for overseeing. More than 0,000 donors have entrusted her as well as also her son with managing their contributions as well as also delivering them to victims in Texas. She also arranged drives collecting food as well as also supplies at four locations in Wisconsin, photos of which surfaced on J. J. Watt’s Twitter account on Sunday morning.
“Everybody knows people need water,” Ms. Watt said. “the item’s about how can the item definitely be best put to use. There were a lot of legal things we had to do as well with in which much cash. the item was a little scary. the item was different. I account for every penny no matter what.”
The idea of sending trucks full of supplies came before Watt decided to post his first video last Sunday announcing in which he was trying to raise $0,000 in hurricane relief funds. The night before in which video was posted, Ms. Watt received an email via the Wisconsin-based supplier received a Hufcor saying the company wanted to send three trucks to Houston, yet wanted to work with the Watt Foundation to get the word out around Pewaukee, population 14,300, to ensure in which the vehicles could be filled.
Initially, Ms. Watt asked Marty Van Hulle, the Pewaukee High School principal, if she could park a semi trailer outside the school starting Tuesday, Aug. 29. She planned another drop-off location from the dusty parking lot of Blain’s Farm & Fleet in Janesville.
By Wednesday morning, the item had become apparent in which two trucks could not be enough. By midafternoon, the Pewaukee High School cafeteria’s folding tables had stacks of canned tuna in which rose taller than the 5-foot-10 school superintendent, Mike Cady. Nearby were similar towers of packaged snacks, disposable plates, laundry detergent as well as also applesauce.
Children showed up with their parents to volunteer. One resident brought 20 handmade blankets, as well as also a woman in a wheelchair volunteered to check the condition of the food in which was being sent for expiration dates as well as also open containers because she could not help carry the item.
Ms. Watt had a hand in every step of the process. She formed an assembly line, starting with volunteers at the tissue-box station outside the choir classroom as well as also ending with players via the Pewaukee football team — who had signed up to work in shifts — carrying the filled boxes to the trucks.
She also stood from the brick-walled hallways as well as also stuffed boxes herself between interviews with reporters via local television stations, as well as also made appeals on social media when the volunteers ran out of items. Within minutes, completely new volunteers could arrive with the goods to fill her requests.
She enlisted three people to go through an avalanche of emails as well as also identify those who were offering trucks, because the school was running out of space.
“Connie as well as also John were here the entire time,” Van Hulle said of Watt as well as also her husband. “They were here at 7:30 from the morning until after six o’clock when we got things cleaned up. So they were completely invested in This kind of process. They didn’t just turn the item over. They were hauling boxes as well as also doing all kinds of grunt work like the rest of us were.”
Ms. Watt said she slept only four to all 5 hours a night at the height of the fund-raiser. She could stay at the high school until 8:30 p.m. as well as also then trudge home on the path between her house as well as also the school — a distance she says she can cover in less than the time of a television commercial break — to answer emails as well as also check the youcaring.com total.
In all, the campaign sent 12 trucks of supplies as well as also one cargo plane full of diapers as well as also baby formula to Houston; on Sunday, J. J. Watt as well as also several of his Texans teammates helped unload the supplies in Houston.
yet the most challenging part for Ms. Watt, who describes herself as “organized to a fault,” has been deciding how to handle the money. The J. J. Watt Foundation’s largest event every year is actually a softball tournament in Houston in which usually raises about $1.3 million, a fraction of what has been collected for Harvey relief.
“We had to get the paperwork in place to be able to include the money from the foundation,” Ms. Watt said. “We needed the legal team, the board members. the item takes a little time. We had to set up a completely new bank account because the item’s all the same company, yet we don’t want one particular penny going into the additional accounts.”
The foundation board, which includes her All-Pro son, planned to hold a conference call on Monday to discuss specific recipients for the money. Ms. Watt said she hoped to begin distributing money as soon as Monday night.
yet in which does not mean the offers of help have stopped coming. Hours after the first trucks started off their 17-hour drive to Texas on Friday night, as well as also Ms. Watt left Pewaukee High for the short walk home, a man showed up at the school as well as also asked, “is actually This kind of still where we can drop off donations?”
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