Hurricane relief supplies donated to Parma barbershop arrive in - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Hurricane relief supplies donated to Parma barbershop arrive in Houston

Six trucks from Northeast Ohio full of supplies have made it to Texas (Source: WOIO) Six trucks from Northeast Ohio full of supplies have made it to Texas (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Donations collected at Mario's Barber Shop in Parma are now in Houston, Texas helping survivors of Hurricane Harvey. 

Owner Mario Innocenzi organized the effort. He said Northeast Ohioans stepped up in a big way to help fellow Americans. He originally planned to drive one 24-foot moving truck to Houston, but because of an outpouring of support ended up taking six moving trucks to "The Lone Star State." Innocenzi's family and friends volunteered for every aspect of the mission, including the drive south. The group got there Monday.

"The experience so far has been unreal, from the outpouring of love and generosity from northeast Ohio, to all the people down here," Innocenzi said via FaceTime from Houston. "You pull into a gas station and people just run up crying and hugging you."

There was one hiccup along the way. One of the rental trucks broke drown first in Kentucky and later in Tennessee. They eventually swapped the truck, but that mean unloading and reloading supplies.

"We put a call out on social media, and four young gentlemen came to help us," Innocenzi said.

Once at their destination, Innocenzi and his team unloaded the water, food, clothes, medical supplies and other items at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.

"They have such a fantastic facility here," Innocenzi said. "There has to be 50 volunteers here. The ladies are all inside sorting as we unload the truck."

The donations are being sent to shelters across Texas, reaching the thousands of people who had to be rescued and had nowhere else to go. Innocenzi said people are also showing up directly at the church to pick out what they need.

After unpacking donations, Innocenzi and the team ventured into Houston's hard-hit communities and helped whenever they could.

He said the work is what being an American is all about.

"I think I cried a river the whole week," Innocenzi said. "It was just so emotional. You would see someone bringing one item... to a truck load of items. Everybody wanted to be a part of it."

The journey has been met with unexpected, yet reassuring surprises. Innocenzi reunited with Terry Hood who lives in Houston. The two first met at Innocenzi's barbershop.

"He was stranded in Cleveland during the hurricane. He came down to our distribution center. He worked every day with us," Innocenzi said. "He met us off the highway and escorted us back to his house... had dinner for us. He opened his house to seven complete strangers he didn't know."

Innocenzi said he plans to continue the donation drive knowing the folks in Texas will continue to need help in addition to people in the U.S. who may be affected by Hurricane Irma.

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