Hurricane Harvey devastated Southern Texas with a force of nature that swept away everything in its path and replaced it with water. The massive storm, which featured high winds and a destructive storm surge, killed more than 70 people and forced hundreds of thousands of Texans to flee their flooded homes and demolished communities along nearly 300 miles of the Texas coast and parts of Louisiana as it dropped record-shattering rain.
The storm has passed, but since then, many of its victims have lost everything and now have to start over from scratch.
It’s been more than two weeks since Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on the Texas coast on August 25, and the majority of downtown Houston has dried out as life in the hard-hit region begins its return to a new normal. The damage to Houston and in surrounding cities continues to be assessed. So far, officials are estimating that the storm caused $75 billion in damage, making it one of the most expensive natural disasters on record.
It’s said that it will take years to rebuild the towns and areas that have been affected. But it’s in the most difficult times that people have the opportunity to show their best selves.
Ordinary people, volunteers, companies and non-profit organizations all came together in the aftermath of the hurricane to do everything they could to help their neighbors deal with the unfolding disaster.
At the Sake Sushi Bar and Lounge in Port Arthur, Texas, restaurant owners Phe Nguyen and Binh Nguyen watched all hell break loose as the hurricane took hold of their city. Without hesitating, they decided that there was much they could do to lend a hand to those in need.
The family and staff at the Sushi restaurant cooked around the clock in their efforts to provide hurricane victims, first responders and volunteers with a delicious, hot meal. They even had to deliver some of their food to the hungered people by boat.
In just one day, the group cooked and put together thousands of food boxes — all without a mention in any news stories or television shows about the hurricane. There were even moments when they had to appeal to the public because they were running out of cardboard boxes. So, they asked for donations on Facebook.
On Sep. 1, the restaurant reported on its Facebook page:
Sake will be close for business again today. We will continue to cook food for shelters and first responders. Our employees and volunteer delivered 1357 hot meals yesterday. We are limit on supplies but there should be more coming in. Please let us know location of shelters that need hot meal and we will do our best to get to them. Please share.
The Nguyen didn’t care about getting recognition; they weren’t looking for praise. They were just doing what they could to provide relief for their weary neighbors because they knew they were lucky enough to still have an operating restaurant while others had lost everything.
Phe Nguyen’s son Keith, however, felt his father and co-workers deserved some sort of recognition. So, he decided to speak out about their efforts in a Facebook post. He wrote:
My dad and uncle Binh own a restaurant in Southeast Texas and they were also effected by Harvey but the media doesn’t cover it. Today them, their staff and volunteers helped create over 1000 meals for victims, first responders, and other volunteers. My dad and uncle are both very humble about it but I believe they atleast deserve recognition and appreciation for everything that they do. Their restaurant is Sake Sushi Bar and Lounge in Port Arthur, Tx. If you’re ever in the area you should stop by and support these hard working men, or even share their good deed on Facebook. They deserve it.
With no sense of what kind of an impact his words would make, Keith posted photos of his family hard at work as they selflessly helped others. Since Tuesday, his post has been shared more than 444,000 times and has received more than a million interactions in total.
“Words cannot describe our gratitude and thanks for your great deed. We are all united!” one user wrote.
Another Facebook user was floored by their generosity, writing, “I cannot even express how amazing this group is! I do not know one single person, however we were able to speak to someone by the name of Tot to help coordinate food delivery and locations to shelters. Let me tell you. They came through all right!!! You guys are amazing to say the least. Thank you all for your hard work. God bless!!!”
Users from as far away as Tasmania, Australia reached out to let the family know that their efforts were appreciated by people who weren’t even affected by the storm. “Well done you all, what a fantastic thing to be doing. I hope that you get well supported by the community and by visitors alike,” they wrote.