“It’s just unreal:” JJ Watt sets $10M fundraising goal for Harvey victims, thousands of items collected

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HOUSTON, Texas -- Former Wisconsin Badgers DE JJ Watt has increased the goal for his Harvey relief fundraiser to $10 million, and thousands of items have been collected at Pewaukee High School -- one of three donation sites across the state where the JJ Watt Foundation is collecting needed items, including non-perishable food, water, and more -- to be sent to Texas.

"Overwhelmed! Overwhelmed, excited, inspired. I mean, it's just unreal," Connie Watt, JJ's mother said Wednesday of her son's fundraising efforts and the donation drive at PHS.

JJ Watt Foundation Harvey fundraiser at Pewaukee High School

JJ Watt shared the below video on social media Wednesday in announcing the new fundraising goal:

The goal was raised to $10 million after donations surpassed the $6 million mark Wednesday, August 30th.

Over 50,000 people have donated so far.

Connie Watt said she's found her son's efforts and those of the foundation are helping more than hurricane victims.

Connie Watt

"That's been the number one phrase is basically 'we felt helpless.' Thank you for giving us an opportunity to help. Everybody wants to help," Connie Watt said.

Olivia Myers came to Pewaukee High School Tuesday for her daughter's freshman orientation, and they stopped by the donation drive as it kicked off.

"And I said 'do you want some help? And that was last night and I could see how fast it was coming in so we offered to come in today," Myers said.

"There's like, so many people in devastation, so I just decided that we should probably do something about it," Alyssa Myers said.

JJ Watt Foundation Harvey fundraiser at Pewaukee High School

It was an organized operation Wednesday, with donations sorted and expiration dates checked.

"So when it gets down there and everything and they're ready to accept things that it's just 'here is a box for you to carry,' and it's a manageable sized box and whatnot," Connie Watt said.

JJ Watt Foundation Harvey fundraiser at Pewaukee High School

Similar donation drives are taking place in Janesville and Madison. Three semis, one at each location, will be loaded up, and they'll head to Texas Thursday.

"Someone called to say they'd like to donate 11,000 packages of water, which is the most needed," Connie Watt said.

JJ Watt, a Pewaukee native and former Wisconsin Badgers star, who now plays for the Houston Texans, created the fundraiser Sunday, August 27th to help the victims of Harvey, calling the devastation he's seen in the Houston area "very tough," and asking "if you can donate, please donate."

Watt posted a video to his Facebook page, along with a link to a YouCaring fundraiser he launched in an effort to help.

According to ESPN, Watt donated $100,000 of his own money to the fundraiser.

"Everybody in Houston stay safe," Watt says in his video. "We're thinking about you. We're going to come back. We're going to help you out. The recovery efforts are going to be massive. Houston's a great city. We're going to come out of this stronger than ever."

ESPN reports the Houston Texans were unable to get back to Houston after Saturday night's game in New Orleans. They instead flew to Dallas to wait out the storm.