Family stranded before Puerto Rico relief mission finds help in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "We run the ministry as a family."

Meet the Downs family from Jacksonville, Florida. Mom, dad, three kids and a dog, and they all call the ship known as 'Glory' home.

The family has been busy taking thousands of pounds of much needed supplies to Puerto Rico.

"Because they're still, though it's been eight months later, they're still trying to rebuild," says Shawna Downs, of Good Samaritan Shipping Ministries.

Shawna says the family travels the open seas, providing free shipping for missionaries in crisis relief groups.

The kids are home schooled in the morning and in the evening, they help mom and dad run the family's non-profit.

They were here in Houston picking up donations from various organizations.

"This load we have mostly medical supplies," Shawna said. "We also have building materials and we're still taking generators."

The organization couldn't raise the needed funds for fuel to get to Puerto Rico and back home. But then, a local businessman stepped in and saved the day.

"We are happy to be able to do this booking as a company, very much into community outreach," said Atul Sabharwal, of Vulcan Materials.

The company donated $25,000 worth of fuel to help the family get to Puerto Rico to make the delivery.

Manchester Terminal also helped out, waiving all docking and loading fees. Now all the supplies are loaded up for their next stop, Puerto Rico.

"Without these partnerships, we would be stuck here. It's great when corporate generosity comes to play like this. They're not getting anything from it, they just want to help and I think that's beautiful," Shawna said.

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