North Texas

Houston Area Restaurants Offer Free Meals to First Responders

Parts of Houston are beginning to dry out after Hurricane Harvey, but there are many people who can't get home.

Communities are continuing to come together, and many restaurants are opening their doors for free meals.

Former Irving resident Ronnie Killen runs Killen's BBQ, and he opened his doors during the hurricane to feed more than 1,000 first responders in one day.

"They're the ones that are at risk all the time, out there, life in danger to take care of people who are in danger. For us to feed, them that's the least we can do," Killen said.

Killen happened to have lots of extra food and supplies on hand because the Coldplay concert last Friday in Houston was canceled due to the hurricane, and he was prepared with supplies to feed the masses.

On Wednesday, he fed volunteers along with people who were unable to get home due to flooding. One of them was Katie Akers, who lives 30 miles away. Her neighbors tell her that her home was spared. She knows she's one of the lucky ones.

"I haven't been home. I'm hoping to go home today. My heart goes out to all those who are without homes. Don't be discouraged. We are working together as a nation, as a city, as a family. Everything works for the good of God," Akers said.

Across town, dozens of volunteers gathered at Peli Peli Restaurants, which teamed up with Sysco Foods to cook and pack more than 20,000 meals for first responders. Thomas Nguyen, a lifelong Texan and the restaurant's owner, said he's glad to help.

"We see sun out, and over here it looks safe, but there are still massive parts of the city that are underwater right now. It's a whole city-wide effort in every suburb, in every part of Houston, so it's phenomenal. I'm glad to be part of it," Nguyen said.

Both Killen and Nguyen say if a disaster of this magnitude happened in North Texas, they would pack up and be there. This is humanity at its best.

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