Jessi Heiner is a natural born leader. She is the President of the Mangum Manor Civic Club, but more than that, she is a deeply caring community member. When her community took a beating during Hurricane Harvey, the vital young woman put her leadership skills to work and brought much need help, hugs and more to neighbors.
Heiner launched the “The Mangum Manor Harvey Relief Wagon Convoy,” a collection of neighbors pulling red wagons who roamed the streets feeding 50 people lunch each day. They also gave away cleaning supplies, plastic containers, trash bags and loaned tools to those who removing flood damage.
“The idea came from one of my neighbors who’s home damaged,” stated Heiner. “I asked her how we could help, and she said one difficult thing was meals – she was completely overwhelmed with repairing their home.”
Heine is someone who sees a need and fills it. The pilot light was lit.
“The next day, I bought 30 tacos and passed them out to neighbors,” she continued. “After seeing their faces, I thought, we could get more people and really bring some relief. And while we’re at it, let’s bring them supplies, drinks, and hugs too.”
Heiner posted a request on Facebook to borrow a child’s wagon to help her deliver items. “I had five offers to lend me a wagon within 10 minutes. The Mangum Manor Harvey Relief Wagon Convoy was born!” she stated.
Soon after, Heiner posted that she would accept donations to help fund supplies and food for the convoy.
“I was in tears after seeing all of the support. In total, I raised $1715! The costs totaled $1842, so I was extremely grateful. I couldn’t have sponsored this alone,” she said.
Heiner was quick to pass credit to teammates.
“My friend Melanie Dunlap was right by my side the whole way – purchasing and transporting items, as well as pulling a wagon. I couldn’t have done this without her!
“We also owe a big thank you to Erin Slezak and her daughter, miss Hazel, for making many sandwiches. One neighbor, Leann Artingstall, even sponsored 40 box lunches. She ordered them, picked them up, and dropped them off for the convoy to pass out. This was absolutely a team effort,” Heiner stated.
And there were others who chipped in with, well, chipped ice, for starters.
“While we were running the convoy, Scott Lewis, who organized the snow cone truck, and Christy Stewart led the brigade of helping neighbors clear out damaged sheetrock and flooring. Because of them, we knew who needed help, and would post on social media,” Heiner said.
No one was left untouched by Hurricane Harvey. Some of us suffered tremendous losses. Others, suffered for them. Many are still finding ways to deal with the trauma. Henier found hers.
“The devastation of Harvey has been intensely difficult to see,” she stated. “We were trying to lighten the load and bring joy. While the convoy is officially over, our support is not. We will continue checking on our neighbors not only in our small neighborhood, but all over Houston, and we will help rebuild in every way we can,” Heiner said.