Whitney Mercilus knows how a natural disaster can impact a family.
In 2010, his own family dealt with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, so when the opportunity presented itself to help support the needs of all those impacted by the recent storms and flooding in Houston, the outside linebacker knew he had to contribute.
"My parents are from Haiti, so I have Haitian heritage," Mercilus said at Houston's Red Cross headquarters on Wednesday. "I have a lot of family in Haiti and they've been through a disaster. So when I heard about this, it reminded me of that. It hits home a little bit."
Mercilus joined the emergency relief efforts in the form of a $25,000 donation to the American Red Cross. He is a supporter of the organization's mission and has been a spokesperson for the efforts of the Greater Houston Area chapter.
"It just seemed like the right thing to do," Mercilus said. "Especially here in Houston, with the disaster and the flooding with the storm."
The Red Cross has been working around the clock to provide the necessary support for those impacted by the storm. As many as 300 volunteers and case workers have gone out in the field to help deliver meals and supplies and to meet with individual families in flooded areas to make a recovery plan.
Cleaning supply kits, food and water have been distributed as part of the Red Cross' service delivery plan, and families in need of a place to live have been able to stay in seven short-term shelters at local churches and community centers.