Drive Nets Donations for Hurricane Relief

Local Business Owners Organized the Drive

DULUTH, Minn. – Local entrepreneur Mike Letica, like others around the country, saw the devastation Hurricane Harvey brought to South Texas and wanted to do something to help.

“Anytime something happens, whether it’s in the city or something nationally, I always think about what I would want from people if this happened to me,” said Letica.

“Prayers for Texas” was started by Letica and fellow business owner Shylow Eckstrom. Thursday, they used the Denfeld High School parking lot to gather food, water, clothes and other essentials bound for Texas to help people in need.

“We just want to help out as much as we can,” said Eckstrom. “If we can do it, we’ll do it.”

Donations started rolling in around Noon and kept coming past 7:00 p.m.

“We’ve got a very giving community, this has taken it a step further,” said Letica. “Just seeing this out-pour, it makes me proud to be part of this community. We are a giving people up here and that can’t be said every place.”

Whatever people could give was greatly appreciated by organizers.

“You don’t have to have a lot of money, you don’t have to bring big bags down,” said Eckstrom. “A pack of socks, a box of toothpaste, it doesn’t matter. Everything helps, it’s all important.”

Duluthians dropping off donations were driven to help by Letica’s call on Facebook. When the drive started, his post asking for donations had been shared about 800 times.

“We want to do what we can, we’re supportive,” said Kathy Levinski, who dropped off a donation. “It can happen anywhere and we want to be able to contribute whatever we can.”

Prayers for Texas’ also received a Texas-sized donation from a native Texan who was moved by the display.

“I want to cry,” said Patrick Price of Ft. Worth, Tex., who’s watched coverage of Harvey on television while he’s in Duluth working construction. “Look at this stuff, just look at it. This is how much people care, so far away.”

Organizers didn’t think twice about helping both friends in Texas as well as strangers who were affected by the storm.

“People can see it on the news, but when you know people and you work with people that are effected by it, when they’re reaching out saying just send anything you know you need to do something,” said Eckstrom.

Organizers also are taking greeting cards signed by Duluthians, and will hand them out with donations in order to let Texans know people in Minnesota care.

The donations were loaded in to trucks, which were also donated by businesses and individuals. Those trucks depart for Liberty, Tex. on Friday at Noon.

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