Texans aid Ike victims

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The Texans rolled up their sleeves on Tuesday and joined the Houston Food Bank in packing family disaster relief boxes for the people in the community who have been adversely impacted by the destruction of Hurricane Ike.

Texans owner Bob McNair and his wife Janice worked side-by-side with players, cheerleaders and staff to sort and box food and personal hygiene items for individuals devastated by the hurricane.

"I think it's everyone's duty to give back," quarterback Sage Rosenfels said. "We as NFL players are very, very fortunate to have what we have. And when get the chance to give back, I think as an American citizen it's everyone's duty to help out if they can.

"I'm very, very fortunate. I didn't have much damage at my house and food and money really isn't an issue at my house. But a lot of people are in desperate need right now. They are hungry. They don't have power. They may not even have a roof over their heads. The people who have things should help out those who don't."

{QUOTE}Hurricane Ike made landfall Sept. 13, in Galveston as a severe Category 2 storm and caused extensive damage throughout the Houston area, including damage to the retractable roof at Reliant Stadium. Many of local resident are still living without power and have not been able to get food or water.

The Houston Food Bank, which is the nation's largest food relief charity, started its disaster relief efforts hours after the hurricane tore through the city.

"We normally distribute food to the area charities," said Brian Greene, President and CEO of the Houston Food Bank. "For disaster relief, those charities switch over into the mode of helping people that never thought they would receiver food from a food bank before.

"We began operations immediately after landfall. We were here Sunday, got our first loads out then. And we've ramped up to an output of over a half a million pounds of relief supplies to over 100 different charities throughout the 18 counties that we serve every day. We're running seven days a week, almost nonstop into the night."

To sustain their efforts, the Houston Food Bank has needed a lot of man power. That's where the Texans came in.

"First of all, the Texans are able to provide some pretty strong physical labor and there's a lot of physical labor that has to be done," Greene said. "But more important to us is just that attention to help get the word out to the community of just how much work there is to do. It's not just writing a check. The reality is, yes, disaster relief requires money, but it's a lot of work. If we can get people volunteering here every day throughout the next weeks, it will make a big difference."

While the players worked up a sweat and used a little muscle on their day off, they said it felt good knowing they were helping community members in need.

"A lot of people out here look up to us," left tackle Duane Brown said. "It feels good to be out here just showing them that we care about the things that they need and the rough time that they are going through."

During the event ended, Mr. McNair addressed the group and introduced the team's "Texans helping Texans" campaign, which the team launched Monday, Sept. 22 in the hopes of raising $2 million for relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts around the Houston area.

"At a time like this, it is more important than ever for us to come together as Texans and this is an opportunity for us to reach out and support our fellow Texans," McNair said.

"The devastation that we've seen and that has occurred has brought our community together, and together we'll work through this."

McNair has donated $500,000 to the campaign and the National Football League and the NFL Players Association matched his contribution through the league's disaster relief fund. Chevron Corporation contributed $250,000 and H-E-B donated $100,000 for a total of $1,350,000.

Funds will be divided among two relief funds: the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund, which was established by Houston Mayor Bill White for short-term relief such as food, water and medicine for victims, and the United Way Hurricane Recovery Fund for long-term goals.

Fans can donate now by clicking here.

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