After sheltering victims of Hurricane Harvey after the storm, then feeding thousands on Thanksgiving, the man known as “Mattress Mack” is giving back once again.
On Friday, volunteers spent the day at Jim McIngvale's Gallery Furniture stores prepping for a massive Christmas Eve toy and shoe giveaway.
Inside a back room at the Gallery Furniture store on the North Freeway, it was all hands on deck from all ages Friday afternoon.
“I've been fortunate enough to have been blessed, so I just wanted to continue and help somebody else,” said volunteer Norma McGaughey.
While many volunteers like McGaughey were there to give back, others like Ariel Rodriguez were paying it forward.
“It feels amazing,” said Rodriguez, an employee at the Gallery Furniture North store. “I feel like it's a blessing you know to help somebody out. It's better to give than to receive.”
The Gallery Furniture North store is where Rodriguez received shelter while Harvey flooded his nearby home and then a job soon after.
“I actually needed a job as well, so I'm like 'Oh man, thank the Lord'” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was given a hand up by the same man hoping to do the same for thousands more over the Christmas weekend: Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale.
“My parents taught me, and both of them are deceased now, that the essence of living is giving, and so did my beloved brother, who's deceased,” said McIngvale, the owner and operator of the Gallery Furniture stores. “I'm just trying to honor their legacy.”
McIngvale says in the previous week, he's received donations of toys, sometimes entire truckloads, from both everyday Houstonians and corporations.
He also received more than 7,000 shoes from Vans.
“I called the people at Vans shoes,” recalled McIngvale. “I said, 'Can I buy 5,000 pairs of shoes?' They said, 'No, but we'll give you 7,000 pairs of shoes.' I was blown away.”
It's a team effort to help rebuild Houstonians' spirits as they continue rebuilding their lives.
“For little kids to see a smile on their face, it's something that can pick Houston back up,” said Rodriguez.
The giveaway will happen on Sunday, December 24, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Gallery Furniture North Freeway (6006 North Fwy., Houston, TX 77076) and Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway (7227 West Grand Parkway South, Richmond, TX).
McIngvale says each kid gets a free toy and a pair of shoes while supplies last. Santa Claus will be on hand, and so will food trucks to feed families for free.
METRO Houston is providing free shuttles to and from the Gallery Furniture North Freeway store. Guests can park at the North Shepherd Park & Ride, located at 8300 Veterans Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77088, starting at 11:30 a.m.
Toy donations can be made at the stores through 10 p.m. Saturday, with toys for girls ages 3 to 4 and those for older kids, like gift cards, being the most needed items.
McIngvale says volunteers are still needed throughout the day Saturday and Sunday between 8 a.m and 8 p.m.