Gallery Furniture has gone above and beyond to help out the citizens of Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and they’re back at it again this holiday season. For Thanksgiving, owner Jim McIngvale, also known as “Mattress Mack,” is inviting “anybody and everybody” to dinner in an effort to continue to bring the community together.
“We have had a lot of problems in this community over the past three months, but we also have a lot to be thankful for. We want to get together as a community and be grateful that we’ve gotten through this storm together,” McIngvale, 66, said.
McIngvale previously opened his downtown store after Harvey impacted the city, allowing anyone affected by the storm to seek shelter. Flooding and damage in the surrounding areas is still a very prevalent problem, but many of the communities have shown a great deal of unity to try and help their fellow neighbors.
“There is a whole lot of mental anguish,” he added. “People who have lived in the same house for 10, 20, 30 years … and then have to have all their belongings in one black trash bag. It is up to us to be very empathetic and listen to these people,” McIngvale said during an interview with Good Morning America.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 13, 2017
McIngvale will be funding the Thanksgiving dinner with his own money, but he hopes that the event will present an opportunity to strengthen the people of Houston.
“Every day I’m amazed by the resilience of these people, and how brave they are and how strong they are. I think if we can get people together around a meal it’s a great way to build relationships, and that’s what we’re trying to do, build relationships and move forward as a community,” he added.
Many volunteers and food vendors have also followed Mattress Mack’s initiative and will be taking part in the Thanksgiving feast. “We have hundreds of volunteers who want to come and serve because I think people get as much out of giving as they do receiving,” he said.
McIngvale said that he is expecting upwards of 2,000 people at his event, but insists it’s “for all people who were affected by Hurricane Harvey, and people who weren’t affected.” The motivation behind this dinner was inspired by the “resilience” of the people of Houston over the past few months.
In addition to his efforts this Thanksgiving, Mattress Mack also recently flew 98 first responders who helped out during Hurricane Harvey on a chartered plane to see Game 6 of the World Series, which Houston was playing in, but lost. The Astros would eventually win the series in Game 7.
McIngvale also offered $3,000 in refunds to all Houstonians who purchased a mattress during the World Series if the Astros won, and for that he went down around $10 million. But back when Gallery Furniture served as a shelter after the hurricane, he told reporters, “We said to hell with profits, let’s take care of the people.” This shows you just what kind of heart the store owner has.