Dutch Small is a publicist who has truly put his experience and passion for helping others to good use. Although Small is from Houston, he was in Atlanta during the worst of the storm. And, despite being unable to make it back home to help, he was able to feed thousands from his hotel room several states away.
Texas Monthly’s profile on Small details what started off as a fun weekend for a hip-hop rap battle. In anticipation of Harvey, he rescheduled his flight, but like his understanding of how bad the storm would be, his schedule did not go as planned.
Small didn’t merely wait for the storm to die down, however. The opportunity to help out actually came to him. While a friend phoning from a Houston hospital which was running low on food led to an excess of 2,000 sandwiches, Small still saw opportunities to help others which would surely need food.
In what Small said “turned into a very big operation,” he devised a plan for a Google request form, circulated using social media, to ask both who needed help and who was willing to help. He also used his publicity connections to ask restaurant owners for help:
I said, hey, your walk-in freezer is going to be out for a few days if you lost power, and your restaurant isn’t going to be open for four or five days anyway, so can I have the food that’s going to go bad? I’ll take that and get someone else to cook it. And everyone said, of course, come and take it.
But there were still a lot more to do with logistics, especially once Small found vendors willing to help out, which led to still more helping out.
The Chron provided an even more detailed explanation of how the food was requested, delivered, and received, by including a timeline of events in their reporting.
Generous restaurants, food vendors, and volunteers all had positive words for each other. “It is clear the entire restaurant community is on this,” volunteer Lauren Ferrante told the Chron.
Adam Brackman, who installed the Midtown Kitchen Collective and has purchased buildings serving homeless people said he felt “blessed I have the property to offer” and “a responsibility to be able to do what I can.”
Small credited the use of social media for spreading awareness about needs, though he also urges others to do more than “like” or comment. His use of social media not only invited those to request help who needed it, but to offer help as well, by donating or making food, volunteering time, and donating money. “I want people to take action,” Small emphasized.
Fortunately, people don’t plan on stopping their assistance and a plan to “take action” any time soon. Cat Nguyen, who is also mentioned in Texas Monthly for helping prepare taco meat, said she’ll continue efforts “as long is the demand is no longer dire.”
Chef Richard Knight, who offered assistance with his canoe and Range Rover, pointed out “nobody’s telling us when to stop.”