Couple turns home into community pantry for Imelda flood victims

NEW CANEY, Texas (KTRK) -- Just one day after Tropical Storm Imelda flooded neighborhoods in New Caney, the home of Robin and John Hanna opened to the community.

Robin gave ABC13 a tour of the home and showed off different items such as ice chests filled with sliced fruit in re-sealable zipper storage bags.

"We do the oranges and the watermelons all the time. They love that while they're working," said Robin.

Her living room turned into a makeshift food pantry and is now filled with card tables stacked with dried foods.

"Neighbors come in and we fill bags with things that they need," Robin explained.

In the family's den, you can find stacks of mold kits, cleaning supplies, paper towels, school supplies and more. Their home has become an impromptu donation site for churches and individuals to give to the dozens of families who lost everything due to severe weather and flooding for a second and third time.

Neighbors like Nissa Bond, a local teacher, had a recorded seven feet of water in her home.

"(At) about 9 o'clock in the morning, the water was already coming in," recalled Bond as she arrived at the Hanna home for food and rest. "There was no pre-warning."

Another neighbor, Anna Wagenshutz, also stopped by the Hanna home. During Imelda, she recalls trying to get help for her 82-year-old mother-in-law, two dogs, two cats, plus herself, all while being trapped in a home with chest-deep water.

"I climbed out of the window and struggled, half swimming, half walking, because the water was deeper outside," said Wagenshutz. "I got on top of my car and I started screaming for help."

Both women also rebuilt after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Now, they go to the Hanna home together for a community dinner every night.

"It is saving us money and time and it's a place for us to see other people who are in the same boat as us, to have a connection with," explained Bond. "(It's) a time to just be, and not be in the dirt and grime and everything."

Then, on a special night, there was a delivery from Papa John's Pizza. Robin's cousin, who lives out of state, heard about the pizzeria's promotion to honor fallen Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.

Dhaliwal was shot to death while conducting a traffic stop in northwest Harris County on Friday, Sept. 27.

"She has ordered enough food to feed 95 people from Papa John's," said Hanna.

The pizza dinner marks one of the 1,500 meals the family has already served in just one week since Imelda.

"God spared our home, so we are doing what we can to try to help those who are working to clean their houses and have no home now," said Hanna.

If you're interested in helping the Hanna family purchase food and supplies for flood victims, send an email to TeamAngelsWBTX@gmail.com.

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