Christmas comes early for Hurricane Harvey evacuees in San Antonio

Amazon donates necessities, toys

SAN ANTONIO – It's been more than three months since Hurricane Harvey turned life upside down for many families along the Texas coast. 

And Christmas came early for some people who could definitely use it. Generosity was on full display Tuesday as volunteers and Amazon helped them as they continue to get back on their feet.

Gesica Matae, 3, no longer is worried Santa won’t find her new home.

The made Houston home after coming to America from Romania. 

When Harvey’s rains came down, Madalina Matae and her husband grabbed their kids and got out for good.

"We lost everything. We lost everything, believe me," Matae said. "We are happy here and want to stay. The people, they are amazing."

At the same former West Side church where Harvey evacuees got water and diapers through Catholic Charities, they now receive holiday blessings by the box load.

Amazon is helping them out with $15,000 worth of donations, including towels, sheets, tissues -- the basic necessities these folks have lost. Worker elves pulled up to the former St. Stephens Church on Tuesday in a rather unconventional sleigh. 

"It gives purpose to what we do," said Derek Sparks with Amazon's San Marcos Fulfillment Center.

Amazon's purpose is to help the families who lost so much get back on their feet and experience a little holiday happiness.

Daniel Cummins and Johanna Cochran got out of Rockport with only their dogs and their faith.

"If it wasn't for faith, you wouldn’t survive,” Cochran said.

Cummins now drives for Uber and Cochran began a new job in San Antonio on Tuesday.

Carlos Armstrong is looking forward, too, and not back on everything he lost in Port Arthur.

"Starting over is unbelievably hard," he said. He had his own excavating business in Port Arthur and lost many of his tools.

After living in hotels for a while, he and his wife now have an apartment.

“I ask God to bless me so I can bless others, and right now they are blessing us,” he said. “We're thankful."

They are thankful for the gifts of towels and toys along with dignity and hope.   

These families may have lost their houses, but what they found is home.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.