CHARLOTTE - As the Panthers prepare for their final preseason game, Fozzy Whittaker’s heart is in Texas.
“It’s my home. That’s where I was born and raised. That’s where I grew up. I give everything of I am today because of the struggles my mom went through, how I was raised and everything I learned just being a product of living in Houston, Texas,” Whittaker said.
He’s spent the last few days looking through unrecognizable picture of his home town.
“One of my friends texted me yesterday and said they'd finally seen the sun peeking out after it's been so many days. That's a win in and of itself. Seeing the sun, brightened their day- literally,” Whittaker explained.
His family’s home was threatened by the floods, but they weren’t displaced. Others haven’t been as lucky.
“Where I grew up is basically completely under water. Just seeing how many people are struggling and in need of help pushed me and my team to try and support them any way they can,” Whittaker said.
His wife and mother went to work to try and find a local group they could work with directly. They found Sarah’s House, a homeless shelter minutes from where he grew up that is now taking in women and children forced to leave their homes.
“Just yesterday one of the ladies they admitted broke down because she had four kids and was expecting another and every shelter she had gone to prior to Sarah’s House had turned her away,” Whittaker recalled.
She’s one of 22 people now finding refuse in that shelter and comfort in the kindness of strangers.
“We’re trying to get the help out to them as fast as possible,” Whittaker said.
For him, that meant reaching out to the shelter to find out their immediate needs. From socks and mops, to towels and Shopvacs, Whittaker plans to use the funds donated to his crowdfunding site to directly help the victims at Sarah’s House.
“You never thought that a place would need a mop, but they may have never gotten one in time,” Whittaker explained.
For him, it’s a way to help in a situation that makes him feel helpless as his new city helps support his hometown.
“It’s crazy because you’ve enver seen this type of overwhelming support that I’ve seen for a city, and it’s truly a blessing,” Whittaker said.
For more information about Fozzy Whittaker’s fundraising efforts or to donate, CLICK HERE.
As of Wednesday evening, $2,840 of a $5,000 goal had been raised.