Calif. Woman Driving 'Ark' Full of Donations to Houston - NBC Bay Area
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Calif. Woman Driving 'Ark' Full of Donations to Houston

"It’s not that much, but I hope it inspires people," Maria Flora-Smoller said



    SoCal Woman to Travel to Houston in 'Ark' to Help Harvey Victims

    A Southern California woman is driving a Noah’s ark-themed RV to storm-battered Houston to aid Harvey victims. (Published Monday, Sept. 4, 2017)

    Thousands were rescued after Hurricane Harvey battered the Gulf Coast, but thousands of evacuees are still facing dire housing needs. In an effort to aid the victims, one Southern California woman is driving her own version of Noah’s ark to the South: an RV.

    "I was really broken up about what I saw on the news," Maria Flora-Smoller told NBC Los Angeles.

    In response to the devastating Harvey news, she and her cousin purchased an RV together to take donations to the storm's victims. They contacted Venice-based mural artist Jules Muck to decorate it.

    Muck came up with the theme of Noah’s ark and covered the RV with different kinds of animals and flood waters. The theme is a reference to the story of Noah’s ark and the flood in the Bible.

    In the book of Genesis, an ark is the vessel in which Noah, his family and pairs of animals are spared from a world-engulfing flood.

    "The theme of Noah’s ark? Well it was a flood. So we are taking this RV to a church in Houston … a family will receive it," Flora-Smoller said,

    Dramatic Images: Floods Hit as Harvey Drenches TexasDramatic Images: Floods Hit as Harvey Drenches Texas

    Texas experienced a historic flood of its own. Hurricane Harvey was the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. The storm flooded the region with more than 20 trillion gallons of rain since it first made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25, according to NBC News.

    Flora-Smoller will be driving the RV filled with donations and supplies to the Woodlands United Methodist Church in Houston.

    The church sent her a list of needed items and so far – through social media and a fundraiser in Malibu – she's collected $4,000 along with toiletries, diapers, food, clothing and more.

    She plans to depart for Houston in the "ark" early Wednesday morning.

    Aerials of Harvey's Flooding From Houston to GalvestonAerials of Harvey's Flooding From Houston to Galveston

    Houston's NBC affiliate KPRC flew one of its helicopters from Houston to Galveston to survey the damage from Tropical Storm Harvey.

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017)

    "The people of Texas have lost everything. Me with this one little RV ... it’s not that much, but I hope it inspires people to get together, maybe get an RV themselves … do what they can," Flora-Smoller said.

    If you wish to donate, checks can be made out to the church’s disaster relief fund: TWUMC Disaster Relief Fund.