JJ Watt increases Harvey fundraising goal to $10M

The Houston Texans defensive end is one of the many pitching in to help.

ByABC News
August 30, 2017, 4:06 PM

— -- J.J. Watt, the star defender for the Houston Texans, is one of the many pitching in to help his beloved city in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Just four days after he announced a fundraiser for flood relief, the NFL player has raised more than $11 million.

"All of the money will go to the J.J. Watt Foundation, a certified 501c3, and then distributed from there," a spokesperson for J.J. Watt wrote to ABC News.

Watt said in a new video posted to Twitter that all of the funds raised will go to those affected by the storm.

"We're filling up semi-trucks -- semi-truck drivers have donated their times, their trucks... and then we're using your money to purchase water, generators, food, clothing, cleaning supplies -- things like that," he explained. "We're gonna set up shop in a few areas around Houston. My teammates are gonna help me distribute those materials so that we can get this directly to the people."

Watt's initial goal was $200,000, and by Tuesday afternoon, fundraising surpassed $4 million, he said in a tweet. On Wednesday morning, he announced that, overnight, more than 50,000 people had donated a total of $5.1 million.

"It’s unbelievable," Watt said on "Good Morning America" Tuesday about the overwhelming response from all over the country. "The biggest part of it all is being able to see the power of what can happen when people come together. I think that’s the beauty of the people in this country: When they see somebody going through a tough time they all rally around. It’s pretty incredible and we’re going to be able to do a lot of great things to help rebuild this city, and we’re trying to raise as much as we can because we know these recovery efforts are going to be massive."

"I want to keep setting it at these incremental levels where we have a goal to achieve," he continued. "I don’t want to set it at some crazy number but we keep increasing it by half a million here and half a million there. The beauty of it all is that it’s not necessarily big donations that are coming in. It’s $5 here, it’s $10 there. It’s people from all over the country giving whatever they can. It’s really a crowdfunding effort and I think that’s so incredible to watch."

    Watt said he was surprised by how quickly the site has raised funds.

    "There’s so many giving people out there and there’s so much positivity out there in the world and people wanting to help," he said. "It’s a very difficult time around the country. But in times like this, it really shows you and gives you that positive light and really helps you believe in the better good of people."

    Watt's girlfriend and several of his teammates are back in Houston dealing with the flooding. He said his girlfriend is "doing well" but some of his teammates' families who live in evacuation zones are leaving.

    "I talked to one guy here who has a wife and newborn back home and they’re out of diapers and running out of formula and things like that so it’s a very, very difficult situation," he said. "We all care so much about everybody back there and we want them to stay safe."

    Donations to Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund can be made at YouCaring.com/JJWatt.

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