Downeasters Use Facebook to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Among the many volunteers that contributed their efforts in collecting and organizing flood relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas was Carol Ann Davenport.

By Sarah Craighead 



A local Facebook page connected two strangers who wanted to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and from that connection grew a plan that spread across Washington County. Their combined efforts culminated in a truckload of supplies bound for Texas last week. Southeastern Texas was struck with Hurricane Harvey on August 29. The flooding is extensive.

Lorena Caler of Centerville wanted to help, so she wrote a post on “What’s Happening Washington County, Maine,” a Facebook page started by Calais’ WQDY radio DJ, Lupe Soto. Caler asked “Is there anyone collecting items to take to Texas for the flooding victims?” 

Another member of the page responded. “Before you knew it, we were looking for a driver,” said Bonita Jones, who lives in Pembroke. From there they started to search for a truck, and the answer came through Caler’s brother, Fred Ashmore of Ellsworth. Ashmore volunteered to produce a large enclosed truck, and to drive the supplies to Texas himself. He has been in touch with the Red Cross, and has been asked to deliver to Richmond, a city within the Houston metropolitan area.

Jones has friends living in the heart of the disaster zone near Houston. “They are letting us know what is happening and what they think everyone really needs,” she said. “As they are still going through all of this, they keep losing power, internet and cell service.”

With recommendations in hand, Jones started another Facebook page -“Downeast MAINE helping flood victims in TEXAS.”

Amanda Quinn of East Machias learned about the effort through Facebook, and volunteered to collect Machias-area donations at Dunkin’ Donuts. “Someone brought in dog food, canned food, bottled water and some paper plates,” said Quinn. Other brought in diapers and wipes, two items in high demand in the flood zones.

The eBay store, located in the Hannafords plaza in Machias, volunteered to be a collection point for donations until the truck departed for Texas on Wednesday, September 6. 

Fred Ashmore arrived safely in Houston with the supplies from Downeast Maine on September 9th. He was warmly welcomed by volunteers and organizers that assisted with unloading the truck, which read "Maine to Texas to Evict Harvey!" on its rear door.