J.J. Watt raises $41.6 million in Hurricane Harvey aid

The Texas wrap up the preseason at home Thursday against the Cowboys


A little more than one year since Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continues to help the recovery. 

He announced that his GoFundMe fundraiser, which began with the goal of $200,000, had raised $41.6 million to help in the recovery efforts. The figure is a new world record for a crowdsourcing endeavor.

“It’s incredible to see the generosity of strangers and what it’s able to do and what it’s able to accomplish,” Watt said. “And the fact that it’s just year one and we have a lot moving forward. The work isn’t done by any means.”

According to Watt, the funds were distributed to organizations such as All Hands and Hearts, Americares, Boys & Girls Clubs, Baker Ripley, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children and SBP: Disaster Resilience & Recovery.

He announced on Twitter that the donations had helped repair or rebuild more than 600 homes and 420 childcare centers and after-school programs, distributed over 26 million meals to affected residents and helped distributed medicine to more than 10,000 patients. 

The plan for the next 12 months includes continuing to repair and rebuild homes while also assisting with physical and mental health programs as well as helping Food Banks across the region. 

“This is the generosity of strangers, people from all over the world and the country,” Watt said. “They may not know anybody from Houston, they just want to help. That’s pretty cool. There’s really no words you can say besides thank you.”

On the field, the Texans won their first two preseason games but lost on the road against the Los Angeles Rams last week. Watt saw the field for the first time since breaking his leg more than 10 months ago and made a tackle in the loss. 

Brandon Weeden threw for 108 yards with an interception, while Alfred Blue rand for a touchdown and Braxton Miller caught one. Nick Rose missed a potential game-winning field goal from 57 yards out as the final whistle blew. 

Houston wraps up the four-game preseason at home against the Cowboys on Thursday night at 7 p.m. before opening the season on the road against the Patriots on Sept. 9 at noon. 

“There are some guys that are on the team, but the majority of guys are fighting for a spot,” head coach Bill O'Brien said. “It’s a tough week for those guys. For me, any time you have to release a player, that’s not fun. All of them have worked hard for us.”

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