Owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has long been known for his generosity, so it’s no wonder that he’d welcome scores of storm victims into his Gallery Furniture store amid the natural disaster.
“All day long on Sunday we went around and rescued people out of high water standing on overpasses, these type of things,” McIngvale told CNN, noting that he and his team had 24-foot delivery trucks that could easily get through the waters. “We brought about 200 people into the store that way.”
He said that there were about 300 people at the store’s Richmond location and about 400 — including National Guard members, officers and other “military people” — at one of the shops near Houston.
Photos of the 160,000-square-foot showroom just outside Houston showed children, military service members and families comfortable and warm on the furniture. McIngvale shared a Twitter photo of group of children playing on several large beds placed side-by-side.
Another shot showed evacuees on couches enjoying food and water. Although the stores had taken in about 800 people total over the weekend, McIngvale said he and his crew aren’t slowing down — he even gave out his personal phone for those in need to call, and told CNN that it has been “ringing off the hook.”
In recent days, the chain’s Facebook page has been filled with Bible verses and messages for Harvey victims.
In a Sunday post, the company announced it would have food, bathrooms and beds for those in need, along with their pets.
“Houstonians have a safe, dry place to take shelter at Gallery Furniture so if they can get here they are welcome,” McIngvale said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We hope to give them some comfort in this incredibly difficult time.”
The massive storm touched down as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, dumping several inches of rain on the Texas Coastal Bend. The storm left homes flooded, many without power and several buildings destroyed. At least 30 people have died as a result of the storm and several others have been injured, The New York Times reported.
Thousands of people have been rescued in the wake of the storm, but strained resources have prompted locals to take to the waters in boats and makeshift floating devices to save those stranded.
Evacuations are now underway for Louisiana residents as the storm touches down in the state, Good Morning America reported.