Faith moves ‘Mattress Mack’ to shelter Hurricane Harvey victims

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale answers the telephone at his original Gallery Furniture store in Houston on Sept. 2, 2017. RNS photo by Bobby Ross Jr.

“My faith defines me. It’s who I am,” Jim “Mattress Mike” McIngvale told Religion News Service. “How am I going to let my people drown? It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to let my people drown.”

McIngvale dispatched Gallery Furniture trucks to pick up victims. He opened his stores as emergency shelters, offering food, mattresses and clean restrooms to hundreds of evacuees and Texas Army National Guard troops.

He turned his stores into collection sites for disaster relief items, posted a “Pray for Texas” video on his Facebook page that received nearly 3.9 million views, and garnered heartfelt thanks and lifelong customers.

In the wake of Harvey, McIngvale said he has seen God at work.

“The best thing about this whole tragedy is the people helping each other and putting all of the left-wing and right-wing politics aside and caring about people, not about politics,” he said.

McIngvale believes Houston’s struggle will strengthen its spirit.

“This tremendous flood of biblical proportions brought this entire city together, and people aren’t fighting and bickering; they’re working with each other and opening the door for each other.”

Houstonians are acting the way Pope John Paul II had inspired people to act, he added.

“They’re loving each other. That’s the way it ought to be all the time.”

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