Odies Place owners launch Hurricane Harvey donation drive

By Mary Macedo | Sep 05, 2017
Photo by: Mary Macedo Brian and Kerrie Harrington embark on a 5 day tour collecting supplies for Hurricane Harvey victims.

With careers built on helping animals, Brian and Kerrie Harrington are switching gears to helping out those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

The owners of Dartmouth’s Odies Place Animal Rescue started a five-day donation drive beginning at the Ace Hardware on Dartmouth Street on September 5. With a rented 15-foot U-Haul truck, their goal is to fill it with necessities to bring to Texas. Just an hour after opening up donations, they came pouring in.

"We are blown away," Kerrie said. "We just started an hour ago and we already have all this," she said, pointing to the dozen or so bags of clothing, food, and cases of water in the truck.

Brian began the donation drive, called “Operation Help Texas,” after watching news coverage of the storm, which has caused at least 30 casualties and destroyed an estimated 30,000 homes in Houston alone.

"We saw the pictures on the news... it was heartbreaking," Kerrie said. "The kids, families, the animals... it was devastating to see it all. We are always ones to step into action. We are always about spreading positivity.”

Brian said that he and his wife Kerrie love to help people in need in any way possible.

"We feel helpless," Brian said about the Hurricane Harvey victims. "We can't save all those dogs down in Texas."

Brian already sent food and leashes for dogs to places in Houston such as Wags to Whiskers and Special Paws. With all the devastation in Texas, Brian said that they started Operation Help Texas to help more than just animals.

Organizing the donation drive quickly came naturally to Brian and Kerrie, who already do a lot of volunteering and fundraising in the area. In addition to fundraisers for Odies Place, they also host a Turkey Palooza event every year to collect turkeys for families in need.

"Every year we try to get 100 more than the year before," Brian said. "This year we are aiming to get 300 turkeys."

Brian used his Facebook savviness to draw traffic to the donation drive, posting schedules and using Facebook Live to broadcast from the store parking lot to the 12,000 followers of his page.

It appears to be working. One particular donation he was proud to see was from Crayon Campus, a nearby day care and preschool. Parents and kids from the school stopped by to donate clothing and school supplies.

"It's empowering to show kids this is how you get on with it by coming together to help, because you never know.... it could be you," Kerrie said.

With donations from local businesses coming in too, Brian already thinks he might need another 15-foot truck by Thursday as they continue their donation tour around the South Coast.

Want to donate, but missed the stop in Dartmouth? Brian and Kerrie will stop by Lee’s Market in Westport on Wednesday, Tractor Supply in Swansea on Thursday, Pet Supplies Plus in Fairhaven on Friday, and at Ponderosa in Acushnet on Saturday. They will be collecting donations from 12-6 p.m. during each stop. Follow the Odies Place Animal Rescue Facebook page for live updates.

"It is only day one of a five day five town tour, and look at all the love," Kerrie said.

Just the beginning of the supplies being collected by the owners of Odie's Place Animal Shelter for the Hurricane Harvey victims. (Photo by: Mary Macedo)
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