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Resources Made for Hurricane Harvey Are Now Being Used for Coronavirus Response

When Hurricane Harvey brought record-breaking rainfall and floods to the Houston area, few people believed that it would help them prepare to fight a virus. As cities across the United States practice social isolation to halt the spread of COVID-19, businesses have come to a standstill and millions are losing their jobs. Now, a Houston organization is using a website it made for Harvey to help the situation.

About CrowdSource Rescue

In the days following Harvey, Matthew Marchetti cofounded CrowdSource Rescue, a non-profit response team that used a website to organize resues. In a comment to KPRC, Marchetti described the site as an “Uber or Lyft for rescues.” Though he isn’t experienced with fighting a virus, Marchetti believes his platform can help.

Instead of sending boats to people’s homes, the site is now sending food. As people struggle to afford and safely obtain groceries, Marchetti has added a new section to the site that organizes food delivery from the Houston Food Bank. Now, families who need assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak can receive it safely from CrowdSource Rescue.

“[Marchetti] approached us to help us with a very significant need,” Brian Greene, CEO and President of the Houston Food Bank said to KPRC. “Normally we work with partners, and those family go to those partners to receive food. But, if those families cannot go out, especially seniors for safety reasons, the ability to use crowdsourcing to do home deliveries is a very attractive option for us."

The service connects those who need help receiving food with others who can help them get it. In its first day, the site had about 150 volunteers to deliver food.

“We’re trying to encourage — particularly the high-risk people—don’t go out of your house,” Marchetti said.

Holly Harment, one of the volunteers who has worked with CrowdSource Rescue in the past, said that she’s proud to help others because Houston’s sense of community is what made it strong and enabled it to survive Harvey.

“Dark and scary times right now, but that doesn’t mean that people still don’t love [the elderly and most vulnerable]." Marchetti said. “It doesn’t mean that there’s still not hope. There’s a lot of people that love you and want to take care of you.”