Summit County sets the table for Hurricane Harvey victims
September 15, 2017
Former Houston residents Christy and Randy Rost set several tables inside the barn at their historic Breckenridge home Thursday for a benefit dinner to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey.
The response to the Rosts' call for help, however, was so overwhelming that, even after sneaking in a few extra seats, it still wouldn't be enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to come.
The dinner sold out early Tuesday morning, and Christy Rost admitted: "I cheated a little, putting in a few extra people. But we finally maxed out, and I had to start saying, 'I'm so very sorry, but I can't accommodate you.'"
With gray skies threatening to dampen the dinner, the Rosts elected to move it inside their barn. As a result, space was more limited than they hoped it would be, and they could only fit four rows of tables.
"Because we had to move it to the barn, I needed to be able to fit enough tables in here," Christy Rost said, adding that had they been able to set up outside, there would have been enough table space for everyone.
For the dinner, the Rosts asked patrons to bring a dish to share, their own chairs and a $25 check made out to The American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
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After the event, Rost said they had 120 people attend, and the dinner surpassed its $5,000 fundraising goal, with checks still coming in.
Many of the people who donated wrote checks made out to The Red Cross for more than the $25 minimum, Rost said, and she's also been getting some donations from people who were unable to be there.
Rost credited much of the success of the event to "good planning, community members who said, 'I want to be part of this' and the many sponsors from Summit County that said, 'Sign us up. We want to support you.'"
During her introductory remarks at the dinner, Rost asked for a show of hands revealing that about a quarter to a third of the people there either come from Texas or used to live there.
One of them was Dick Eicher, and for him, seeing the images coming out of Houston, where he was born and raised, was disturbing.
He wasn't alone, either, as two other former Texans, Brad and Meg Brucker, had similar reactions to the widespread devastation.
The couple graduated from the University of Texas at Galveston, where hurricanes aren't all that uncommon, and for Meg, who used to live just outside of Houston, seeing her old stomping grounds suffer "was very powerful."
"It was so surprising to see Houston, which is 40 miles inland, to go through this," she continued. "I think 'shocking' is probably the best word in my mind that describes those images."
Meg Brucker said that after a hurricane, it's amazing all the things someone needs that most people never consider.
Aside from food and water, the cleanup effort requires shovels, garbage bags and a lot other things that can help people take "one big heap over here to a pile over there that a dump truck can come and get."
Brad Brucker recalled hurricanes that have hit Galveston in the past, and while his biggest concern is for people who were trapped by the rising waters, he expressed faith and remained optimistic.
"They'll pull it together," he said. "It's a pretty resilient place."
Another Texan at the dinner, Edna Snow asked people to remember the U.S. Virgin Islands, which have been hard hit by Hurricane Irma, and she said haven't received as much attention as Texas and Florida have.
The plan for Thursday's fundraising dinner was set in motion 13 days before the event. It didn't leave a lot of time for planning but came as Irma was gaining strength near the Cape Verde Islands and had not yet reached land.
But Snow won't be disappointed because another Summit County resident, Kelly Landis, is working on that one, too.
She's planning a fundraiser in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts of St. John. Landis works at the Ein Prosit restaurant and bar at at 313 E. Main St. in the Frisco Emporium.
Having previously lived on the island, Landis said she wanted to do something and the owner of her workplace was agreeable to having a fundraiser. It will be from 7-10 p.m. Thursday with live music, rum drinks, beer and a silent auction.
All of the money will go directly to St. John Rescue, Landis said. For more about the group, go to StJohnRescue.com. For more about Thursday's fundraiser in Frisco, email Landis at LandisKelly@hotmail.com.