Frank Garcia is heading to Houston to do what he does best – help and feed people.
Garcia is the founder of La Casa Garcia restaurant in Anaheim. More than 30 years ago he started serving a free Thanksgiving meal, which has turned into the nonprofit We Give Thanks and Orange County’s largest Thanksgiving meal, now held each year at the Honda Center.
He is leaving for Houston later this week with plans to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey by providing free hot meals.
Since the hurricane hit Texas, 20 percent of each customer’s check at La Casa Garcia has been collected for those affected. Garcia said he raised $7,000, which he will use to partner with local restaurant owners and set up a kitchen where he can cook barbecue chicken, vegetables, rice and tortillas for the hundreds of victims still adjusting to life after the hurricane swept through the area.
“I did it for Hurricane Katrina, now I’m doing it for the Harvey victims,” he said.
Garcia, 73, is originally from Bishop, Texas, about a 230 mile drive from Houston. He said he knows what it’s like to live through a hurricane and deal with its aftermath.
Garcia was a teenager when Hurricane Carla swept through southeast Texas in 1961. The storm killed 43 people and caused more than $300 million dollars worth of damage. Bishop is about 30 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, the most impacted city by the hurricane.
“I remember going outside my home and seeing the telephone polls moving,” recalled Garcia. “The town was black. It looked like the world was going to be finished.”
Garcia said he and his family had to bunker down in a makeshift shelter at a local school. Torrential rain poured and 100 mph-plus winds howled outside. His home flooded with two feet of water.
The people at the shelter and in the days afterward had only one plate of food a day. He said it took them several weeks to get their lives back in order.
“There was nobody there to help us…