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Park Rapids groups organizing hurricane relief efforts

Park Rapids is organizing an effort to send supplies and relief items to Texas for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The grassroots organization known as "218 to Texas" is meeting Sunday, Sept. 10 from 3-4 p.m. at Necce's Ristorante. The group's goal is to send two semi-truck loads filled with needed supplies to Victoria, Texas for people affected by Hurricane Harvey. Sunday's meeting is to organize and delegate tasks for volunteers looking to get involved with 218 to Texas. More information on what is needed and how items will be collected locally will be made available to the public after the organizational meeting.

The group is working directly with the procurement director at Convoy of Hope Texas offices and the Victoria Texas Fire volunteer coordinators.

"The size of this disaster is huge, the destruction so great and so many people displaced, that it seems un-American not to help. And although the Red Cross is full of honorable intent, we know 100 percent of our supplies will reach folks in need," said Denese Jokela of Necce's who is organizing the meeting. "We already have legs on the ground in Texas. Our supplies will go directly to a mobile distribution center (Convoy of Hope) in Victoria, Texas where water, food and hygiene kits are driven into Texas neighborhoods or picked up through a drive-thru line."

Jokela explained there are over 1,000 cars a day picking up supplies at the location.

Harvey has turned southeast Texas into a lake the size of Lake Michigan and that is making it beyond challenging.

"The focus is still on providing immediate needs, so we, 218 To Texas, are going to help," Jokela said. "Why? Because it's the right thing to do and I'd hope if something catastrophic happened to Minnesota, other everyday Americans would rally on our behalf."

Anyone interested in helping the 218 to Texas effort should attend the informational meeting at Necce's on Sept. 10. One hundred percent of all donations will be used to get supplies to the hurricane victims.

Animal relief fund

The Headwaters Animal Shelter has created a fund to help the animals of the Houston area. Headwaters is accepting donations to the fund until Sept. 17.

All funds collected will be sent to the Houston SPCA.

Those interested in contributing may donate by credit card at, drop off a donation at the shelter or send a check to Headwaters Animal Shelter, ℅ Houston Animal Fund, 901 Western Ave. South, Park Rapids, MN 56470.