Hundreds of people have returned to their homes in the Houston area thanks to the more than $37 million NFL star J.J. Watt helped raise for the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort, according to the Houston Texans All-Pro defensive end.
“When you get to go in and hand them the keys and say, ‘Welcome home,’ there’s no better feeling in the world,” Watt said during the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas Wednesday.
In his first extensive comments about how the money raised from his online fund would be used, Watt also said more than 1,000 day care and child care centers are being helped rebuilt and that food, medical care and health care are being provided to people affected by the hurricane that hit in August, when Watt started his online fund with a $100,000 pledge and goal to raise $200,000.
In 19 days, more than 200,000 people donated before Watt ended the fundraising to focus on determining how best to use the money.
“I don’t look at it like I deserve the credit,’’ said Watt, who in February was named recipient of the NFL’s Walter Payton of the Year Award that honors a player’s volunteer and charity work. “I look at it like those 200,000 people deserve the credit.”
In addition to raising money for the recovery, Watt said he wanted to shine a light on positivity with the crowdfunding success.
“You know, our world today is so negative and there’s so many headlines out there that are all about the negativity,’’ he said. “The more we can shine a light on that positivity, the more we can spread the word about people doing good, the more we encourage others to do good as well, I think the more that we promote that the better we’re going to be.’’
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