Five La Crosse men have been following the devastating hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Hearing the stories of people who lost everything motivated them to jump into action.
It has been less than two weeks since Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas. Now, Hurricane Irma is wreaking havoc on Florida.
"It really breaks my heart to see this kind of stuff happening," said Austin Thompson, one of the men collecting donations.
Zak Chaouki turned the devastation into motivation to make a difference.
"I just came up with the idea, texted all my friends like, 'Hey, who can help this week? What's everyone doing?'" said Chaouki. "And, within a day, we had a solid plan, and we just took it to Facebook and the community, and they've backed us really well."
Chaouki published a Facebook video on Tuesday announcing his plan to fill a 60' Penske truck with supplies for hurricane victims. This week, that truck parked at Moon Tunes and outside of the Copeland Avenue Festival Foods. It is now nearly filled with supplies.
"You don't really notice how much our community cares until stuff like this happens," Thompson said.
The community selflessly gave everything from cleaning supplies to cases of water.
"It's just incredible to see a community so far away from Houston and Florida just wanting to help out just because they see someone else struggling," Chaouki said.
The effort shows that nothing is too small when it comes to helping others in need.
"I just really hope that all of these supplies can make one person's life easier," Thompson said.
"This truck might not make the biggest difference, but if we can show other people my age that with a little bit of initiative, we can really make a true difference, maybe we can actually make a real difference in the world," Chaouki said.
Both Chaouki and Thompson plan to leave on Monday morning for Houston. There a team of volunteers will make sure the supplies go to those in need both in Texas and Florida. In the Facebook video, Chaouki plans to document where the supplies are going in a YouTube video.
If you would still like to donate, you can give through the group's GoFundMe page.