How Houston Restaurants are Giving Back to the Local Community Post-Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane season is upon us and as another beast of a storm comes tumbling our way, Texas is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. 

People’s houses, businesses, and even lives has been destroyed in a matter of days. 

But out of the bad comes the good. In these times of hardship, we really see America’s charitable spirit. Millions have been donated and there have been so many volunteers after the storm that they are being turned away.

A post shared by JJ Watt (@justinjames99) on

JJ Watt’s Hurricane Harvey relief fund has raised over $20 million.

But celebrities and super star athletes aren’t the only ones donating and offering a helping hand to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Big food businesses and local restaurants are doing their part to help Harvey’s victims. 

Kellogg Company has donated $100,000 to Feeding America and other relief organizations in the Gulf area. The cereal company has also donated over a million servings of its products and snacks to the Houston food bank.

PepsiCo donated $1 million to the Red Cross and provided supplies like its Aquafina water to those in need. 

Ready Pac Foods has donated 24,000 salad bowls to Texas residents, which are ready to eat and are equipped with utensils.

While Starbucks and Amazon/ Whole Food Markets are donating millions by matching what is given to the American Red Cross.

But local restaurants and franchisee owners are also doing their part to help their local communities.

While most restaurants were forced to close, 30 Waffle House restaurants remained opened and served a limited menu. "To be honest, we just cook bacon and eggs. But sometimes you need bacon and eggs," said a Waffle House official to “NPR.” 

Local McDonald’s chains donated thousands of water bottles to the Red Cross and offered free meals to first responders.

“As local business people, we have seen firsthand how Hurricane Harvey has affected our customers, employees, and neighbors,” said Matthew Kades, president of the McDonald’s Owner/Operators Association of Greater Houston in a press release. “We continue to pray for the safety of each and every family affected by this terrible storm. We are confident Houston will recover from the incredible damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, and we hope this donation will help us get there a little quicker.” 

But even more local fast food chains donated millions of dollars and food to evacuees.

Photo by Shayda Habib

Photo by Shayda Habib

Papa John’s donated $1 from every purchase nationwide on Sunday, September 3rd to the J.J. Watt’s Foundation and The Salvation Army. 

The Pizza Hut chain in Sugar Land, TX delivered pizzas via kayak. "The people in the houses didn't expect us to come. It was so nice to see their smiles after so much gloom,” said the Pizza Hut’s manager about the unexpected deliveries.

Whataburger donated $1 million to its Whataburger Family Foundation to support their employees who have been impacted by the hurricane. The burger chain also donated $150,000 to the Red Cross and another $500,000 to local food banks.

Killen’s Barbecue, Pinkerton’s Barbecue, The Union Kitchen and Peli Peli Cinco Ranch have been and are continuing to give out complimentary plates to first responders.

The Texas-based Del Frisco Restaurant Group plans to donate over $1,000,000 to Houston food banks. 20% of sales at the group’s New York restaurants, including Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House New York, Del Frisco’s Grille Rock Center and Del Frisco’s Grille Brookfield Place will also be donated. 

Although several restaurants are trying to make a difference, so many restaurants have been significantly damaged. It wasn’t easy for workers to return to duty when they had been impacted by the storm personally. Not to mention, guests are heavily distracted dealing with Harvey’s destruction.

But restaurants still depend on filling seats with guests. Slowly guests have started to return to their normal dining patterns. For those restaurants that have re-opened, Houston Restaurant Week was extended for the month of September and a part of the proceeds will go to Harvey relief programs.