Local athletic programs answer Houston coach's call for aid for Harvey victims

Posted at 7:59 PM, Oct 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-09 09:17:33-04

HOUSTON, Tex. — It's a great problem to have — receiving too much when it comes to helping out victims of Hurricane Harvey. 

But it is Kelvin Sampson's current dilemma. 

"It's been a little bit overwhelming. This is not what we do for a living," said Sampson.

Sampson is the fourth-year head coach of the University of Houston, but has been in the business for almost 40 years. 

You make a lot of connections in that time, as was evidenced by a tweet Sampson sent out right after Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area. 

"Ya know that little tweet, I really thought we'd get good response from our part of Texas and Louisiana, those coaches," said Sampson. 

Oh, but it was so much more — 47 states more. 

After all, Sampson's request in that tweet was so simple, "To coaches, Send 20 t-shirts and 10 pairs of shoes."

Sampson would then turn that clothing around to people in need. 

The tweet, as they say, went viral. Mike Hilbert, head boys basketball coach at Lee's Summit North High School, follows Sampson and immediately got to work. Gathering about 400 shirts from 10 different school programs. 

"In the Midwest, we obviously don't have hurricanes but we have had tornadoes, whether it was in Joplin or out in the middle of Kansas," said Hilbert. "And it seems like other parts of the country have come to our rescue."

Joe McKinstry is the national championship-winning head coach of the KCK Community College women's basketball team. He has family in Houston. 

"Ya know, I just kind of thought, 'what do we have, what can we do without?'" said McKinstry. 

Turns out, what they could do without was brand new travel shoes his team didn't even know about yet. 

"We didn't need the shoes. It would have been nice to have them," said McKinstry. "But knowing that they're going to somebody who undoubtedly needs them, is what's important."

"It just shows you, people want to help. And they want to give," said Sampson. "They just don't know where to send it to."

The answer, in this case, was the University of Houston, which has served as the official UPS of Hurricane Harvey. 

The school's best estimates have the number of t-shirts received and distributed at over 200,000. They've received over 35,000 pairs of shoes.