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'Helping After Harvey': Donations boost spirits of Houston hurricane victims

Jeff Rossen brought smiles to Houston families thanks to donations for hurricane victims as part of TODAY's "Helping After Harvey" initiative.
/ Source: TODAY

After travelling around the country this week to collect donations for victims of Hurricane Harvey, TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen made his way to Houston to bring some smiles to families in need.

As part of this week's "Helping After Harvey" effort, Rossen, who teamed up with the United Way of Greater Houston with the help of Black Tie Moving, collected truckloads of toys, school supplies, cleaning items and non-perishable food.

From students in Tampa, Florida, who filled an entire truck with supplies, to neighbors in New Jersey and generous folks in Dallas, an outpouring of support led to some happy families in Houston.

"We are packed to the gills with stuff, the items that we collected from all the generosity across the country,'' Rossen said on TODAY Thursday.

He started by surprising a single mom with a duffel bag of cleaning supplies and her two young boys with a pair of new backpacks for the new school year.

"I'm a single parent so anything helps,'' she said. "I greatly appreciate it to whoever donated it, so (I) just want to tell them thank you."

Rossen then gave some non-perishable food and supplies to another family in need, followed by a surprise for a 5-year-old girl named Katherine. Her home was ruined by the flooding, but she had a reason to jump with excitement when given a new backpack before her first day of school on Thursday.

The donations also helped brighten a girl's 11th birthday with some presents and provided her mother with some essential supplies.

It will cost billions of dollars and take years to rebuild from Harvey's destruction, but for one day a group of families were able to smile thanks to the generosity of others.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much, may God bless you all for everything you've done,'' the woman said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.