After Hurricane Harvey bombarded Houston earlier this week, Dave Boteler, a special education teacher at Reservoir High School in Fulton, says he plans to drive a truck of donations to the Texas town next week and hand-deliver them to those in need.
The 15-year Howard County educator and Glenelg graduate said after he watched the city's devastation on the news, he emailed U-Haul Corporate Headquarters about an idea to rent a moving truck to collect and bring donations to those affected by the flooding in Houston.
Corporate officials responded within a couple of hours, Boteler said, and offered to rent him a 26-foot moving truck for $1.
Boteler, 38 and a Mt. Airy resident, said he drafted an email requesting donations on Aug. 30 to Reservoir High staff, who spread the word around nearby Fulton Elementary, Lime Kiln Middle and Cedar Lane schools.
"It has absolutely exploded with people who are so eager to contribute," Boteler said. "People are looking for a way to help. I'm getting emails and phone calls from people I don't even know who want to contribute."
Boteler said the donation collection stemmed from his idea to start a new club at Reservoir High, called the Difference Makers, which would bring the school community together by helping people who are in need.
"I felt very called to serve the people hurting in Texas and this was a perfect way to show the school and students what the Difference Makers would try to do," he said. "You hear about the negatives about this country and its people. It's like the light isn't being shined in the right places because there are an enormous amount of people who have a desire to do good and help others."
Boteler said he plans to buy a plane ticket home on Sept. 10.
Nelda Sims, Reservoir High principal, said the school and surrounding communities are eager to support Boteler's endeavor.
"Mr. Boteler is someone with a huge heart who was compelled to do something to help the people of Texas," Sims said.
Donations can be brought to Reservoir High's front office between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6 through Friday, Sept. 8. Boteler said donations can be brought directly to the truck behind the school between 2:45 and 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6 and Thursday, Sept. 7.
The American Red Cross told Boteler that, instead of money, they suggested donations of bottled water; diapers; baby wipes; formula; non-perishable food; toiletries; blankets; clothes, especially undergarments; batteries; cleaning products; and pet food.
The Reservoir High School and Howard County communities have donated hundreds of items for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which Dave Boteler, a special education teacher at Reservoir High, will drive to Houston on Sept. 8.
AmericanK9 Dog Training, in Laurel, will also be the site of donation collections on is Sunday and Monday, according to the business' Facebook page. AmericanK9 owner Krys Rackley and Off-Leash K9 Training New Orleans owner Tank Mosley will drive from Maryland and Virginia, respectively, to bring donations to people and dogs affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The business owners will bring several boats, a 26-foot U-Haul and a 52-foot trailer packed with supplies, according to the Facebook page.
On Sunday, donations can be dropped off at American K9 Dog Training, 9010 Maier Road, Suite 119 in Laurel. Monday donations can be dropped off at Off-Leash K9 Training LLC, 101 Juliad Ct., Fredericksburg, Va. 22406.
"I want to go there, see the people, talk to the people and see if I can be some comfort in some other way," Boteler said. "I feel like I'm capable enough to make the drive and to help where I can. It's more real when you're there, I'm sure."