COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Whenever there is a need in the Brazos Valley, the REACH Project continues to step up and provide support. The non-profit has teamed with StyleCraft Builders to help essential Aggie families impacted by the arctic blast in February.
The REACH Project is known to help Texas A&M University's essential service employees, often referred to as the Invisible Aggies. Throughout the pandemic, the nonprofit has been stepping up to serve those who have been serving others all year.
“They have helped me out a whole lot, I thank God for them," said Gloria Gooden, a dining hall cashier at Texas A&M. "[Max Gerall] has been helping out the ones that are in need.”
As the pandemic continues to affect the Invisible Aggies and others, February’s historic winter storm in Texas added even more devastation to their lives.
“It was a tragedy for so many," said Max Gerall, the founder of REACH Project. "What started off as a natural disaster quickly turned into a financial catastrophe, especially for the essential Aggies.”
Just like many Texans, these Texas A&M service employees have dealt with damaged property and pipes, groceries that went to waste, higher electricity bills, loss of hours at work and more.
“I had to stay off of work for a whole week and I had to get a hotel room because I didn’t have anywhere else to go," Gooden said.
However, just as they always do in a time of crisis, the REACH Project has stepped in to provide relief for some of these costs. They created the Artic Tundra Emergency Response Fund.
"I believe that it's important to show our community that we'll always be there and that we're listening, that we're available when a problem arises we're going to do what we can to support them," Gerall said.
They weren’t alone. The non-profit was challenged by StyleCraft Builders to raise $10,000. The owner Doug French said if it were to happen he would match it dollar for dollar.
The 10-day GoFundMe was able to successfully accomplish that and then some.
In total, the emergency fund collected $21,000. The REACH Project distributed $100 certificates to 210 families Wednesday.
These service employees can use the money to buy groceries, pay electric bills, rent, whatever they need to get by during a struggling time.
“It means a whole lot it helps me out," Gooden said. "We all need help and I thank god for them helping us out.”