As thousands rush to Houston to help with recovery effort today, Rockford Sharefest remembers another historical storm, Hurricane Katrina.
August 29th is the 12th anniversary of the storm that rocked the gulf coast in 2005. In an effort to send relief to victims, the storm sparked a movement in the area.
Memories of Katrina's destruction are still vivid for Rockford resident, Julie Huber who spent 9 days in Waveland, Mississippi providing clothes to hurricane victims in 2005. Huber said, "I remember that it was a lot more devastating than what I saw on the news. Pictures do not necessarily speak to you until you are there in person."
It's a place she chose to go to 12 years ago with a group from Heartland Church who knew they needed to help.
Crieg Day is now the Director of Rockford Sharefest. He reflected on that time saying, "They're gonna need to be clothed and fed. Not for days but for months. It's going to be months until their lives come back to normal."
Rockford Sharefest started in Rockford when Heartland Church asked the community to donate anything they could for those effected by Katrina. 2,200 volunteers showed up at then, Colonial Village Mall in Rockford, to collect, fold and box clothes that would be delivered from Rockford to Waveland, Mississippi. It was one of the hardest hit areas by Katrina.
There they created a place in Waveland where victims could shop for free to get clothing, food and peace of mind.
12 years later the impact of that initial mission is still being seen today in Rockford.
"It is the thing that led to the start of Rockford Sharefest," said Day. "We realized that we can have that much impact on a city and a group of people 1,000 miles away. What if we took that energy and brought it right here to our city? What would be possible?"
Providing help to those in need, it's been Sharefest's mission since the beginning.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Rockford Sharefest has teamed up with another organization, World Vision. They will be collecting supplies to help Hurricane Victims.
Here is a full list of supplies they are looking for and how you can get more information about their effort.
Personal Care Items:
Heartland Facebook: facebook.com/heartlandrockford