UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, JJ Watt announced that his fundraiser had officially crossed the $15 million mark. 


Just hours after initially posting on social media, JJ Watt has helped to raise over $8.5 million for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The athlete has garnered celebrity attention for his efforts and has been astounded by the generous contributions. "This was truly unbelievable," he wrote.


On Sunday, when the heaviest rains and flooding devastated Houston and rendered tens of thousands of people homeless, the Houston Texans defensive end launched the Houston Flood Relief Fund crowdfunding initiative. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 66,000 people have pledged more than $6.3 million in donations.

"Everything's bigger in Texas, so I'm raising the goal to $10 million," Watt said in a video posted on social media. "Please keep sharing, please keep donating. I can't thank you enough. Every little thing helps. Just because the storm is receding, doesn't mean we can stop raising money."

Watt said he wanted donors to know their money is going "directly to the people."

"We're filling up semi trucks—semi truck drivers have donated their time, their trucks, people are donating, businesses are donating and then we're using your money to purchase water, generators, food, clothing, cleaning supplies, things like that and then we're gonna set up shop in a few different areas around Houston. My teammates are going to help me distribute those materials so that we can get this directly to the people."

JJ Watt, Instagram, Hurricane Harvey


Many other celebrities have also used social media to help raise awareness for the plight of the Harvey victims and many have put their own money where their mouth is, including Chris Young, who has donated $100,000 to relief efforts and launched his own crowdfunding initiative. So did Kevin Hart, who has contributed $50,000 himself.

In addition, Sandra Bullock has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to benefit the Harvey victims, while Kim Kardashian announced her family will be donating $500,000 to the organization as well as to the Salvation Army.

To donate to the Red Cross' Hurricane Harvey relief fund, click here.

Other organizations—including Coalition for the Homeless, Houston Food Bank, Houston SPCA, Salvation Army and Save the Children—are also accepting donations for relief efforts.

(This story was originally published Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 at 12:10 p.m.)

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