NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Debbie Phillips is helping those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, but she needs help.
Phillips, widow of legendary Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, runs the Bum Phillips Charities in Goliad, TX. Bum Phillips Charities has partnered with Operation BBQ Relief to help families in rural areas in Texas impacted by the storm.
In the aftermath of Harvey and the unprecedented flooding in the area, the Bum Phillips Retreat Center, located roughly 150 miles southwest of Houston, has been home base for an operation which has served nearly 27,000 meals for families in small towns without food or power, including 9,300 on Saturday.
The area got roughly 25 inches of rain, and the eye wall hit the area hard, causing destruction and power outages.
"It is heartbreaking to see, it really is," Debbie Phillips said on Sunday. "People have lost everything. They can't cook, they can't do anything. And we're feeding people in a lot of areas, even with the flooding."
Phillips said she and Bum Phillips always wanted a place where they could help people through Bum Phillips Charities, and sharing their land was a way they could do that. When Bum Phillips died in 2013, Debbie Phillips expanded the property, and made it even more functional.
While working with Operation BBQ Relief, the team's 18 wheelers arrived at the property after the storm to set up their massive operations. Debbie Phillips has mobilized volunteers to serve meals to the surrounding areas, and she's also connected with local companies to provide everything from port-o-pottys to dumpsters and propane tanks.
It's a costly endeavor to keep the operation running, and the group is looking for help. Donations go directly to food and resources needed to feed and house those affected by Harvey.
"We don't know how long our Retreat Center will operate as a place of comfort and stability to Harvey evacuees, but we're ready for the challenge and rely on donations to keep it running," Phillips said. "Know that your contributions fund the work that Bum and I set out to do together."
Titans staff, alumni players and cheerleaders joined the Nashville chapter of the American Red Cross for a live telethon on WRKN Tuesday night, raising money for those affected by the Houston Hurricane. (Photos: Al Wagner)