NEW BEDFORD- In response to the devastation caused in south Texas by Hurricane Harvey, a New Bedford police officer is taking matters into his own hands.

Officer Donnie Williams organized a collection at the New Bedford Police Headquarters on Rockdale Avenue Friday night. For hours Williams, volunteers and multiple off-duty police officers collected items ranging from food and water, diapers, and clothes to support victims of the brutal storm.

The donations were loaded onto UHAUL trucks by Williams’ team so that they could be personally driven by him to Houston. Once in Houston he plans to hand these needed items directly out to those in need and assist in any other ways possible.

“We’re going to drive right to Polmont and whatever area is messed up we’re going to just stop, get out of the tractor trailer, assist with any recovery operations, and then leave,” Williams said.

Williams says he originally wasn’t sure how many trucks he would need for the trip. As the night came to a close the count was at three UHAUL trucks and a tractor trailer. It’s an amount that surprised Williams as he says he didn’t expect the “spoil of riches” donated by New Bedford residents.

Joining William’s on the long trip to Texas is dispatcher Mason Oliveira. Oliveira worked for hours collecting the donations and says that he loves to be able to help out. He also says that if roles were reversed and New Bedford was in a similar crisis, he knows that help would be on the way.

A massive turnout of donations dropped off for Hurricane Harvey victims at New Bedford Police Headquarters in a collection organized by Officer Donnie Williams. Tim Dunn/TSM

“If the shoe was on the other foot they would help us. So to go down there and see the faces of people who have nothing and them to receive all this non-perishable food and supplies is just going to be overwhelming,” said Oliveira.

The Williams-led convoy left as soon as the last donations reached the Police Headquarters Friday night. They make the lengthy trip to Texas and will offer assistance in search and rescue missions as well.