As many Houston businesses close down amid widespread flooding, one local businessman has opened his furniture stores as shelter to hundreds of displaced Texans.
Jim McIngvale, who goes by the nickname “Mattress Mack,” put calls out on social media on Sunday for people displaced by the effects of Hurricane Harvey to take refuge at either of his two Gallery Furniture stores.
It apparently didn’t take long for his businesses to reach capacity, housing 400 people by Monday night, McIngvale announced on Facebook, while encouraging Texans to seek shelter at the downtown convention center.
“When the hurricane first hit down here, my thought was this is going to be a one-day event. Then I came into work the next day and I saw the devastation of the entire area and decided it would be best if we opened this 100,000-square-foot furniture store as a shelter,” he told NPR.
With rented furniture trucks at the ready, McIngvale told San Antonio TV station KENS 5 that volunteers ventured out to pick up displaced people and bring them to his stores.
He has been providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the evacuees.
Photos posted to Gallery Furniture’s Facebook page show people lining up inside one of his stores for food and sitting on the brand new furniture. Additional photos on McIngvale’s Twitter page show children playing on mattresses as adults sit on couches.
Our GF N FWRY & GF Grand PKWY stores are open for those in need. If you can safely join us, we invite you for shelter and food. God Bless. pic.twitter.com/IHHgjKmjMY
— MattressMack (@MattressMack) August 28, 2017
“I was raised as a Catholic. I continued my Catholic faith throughout my life, trying to do the right thing and hopefully, you do the right thing and help people along the way,” he told KENS.
This isn’t the first time McIngvale has made news for his philanthropic work.
During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he also opened his doors to 200 evacuees from New Orleans, KENS reported.