AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The impact of Hurricane Harvey has stretched beyond families along the Texas coast.

Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) reported that it has had to cancel competitions and fundraisers due to the storm.

“We’ve probably had to cancel several dozen of our fundraising events in the east region,” Dr. Rick Brown, vice president of resource development for the organization, said. Some were postponed indefinitely.

“If we have a golf tournament and the golf course is underwater, [we] can’t play golf, and so, when the golf course dries out, who knows how long that is going to be, then we can get that tournament up and running again,” Brown explained.

SOTX said it hosts around 300 events each year. Special Olympian Ben Garcia of Lubbock competes in bowling, track, basketball and soccer.

“I enjoy the camaraderie with my friends, enjoy the camaraderie with new people,” Garcia said. He was born without a thyroid gland, which caused physical and mental developmental delays.

“It would be heartbreaking to find out that the season would be over due to the hurricane,” he said.

Suzanne Anderson, interim CEO for SOTX, said the organization services roughly 20,000 athletes, which equals about one-third of its competitors statewide.

Texas Special Olympics athlete Ben Garcia discusses his favorite sports to compete in on Sept. 27, 2017. (Nexstar Photo/Larry Rodriguez)

“What we find is that we become the anchor for families, and for our athletes,” she stated. “They need that normalcy, they need that positive environment to be there. They count on us to be available and still have the programs and they can come be a part of that.”

Anderson said the non-profit group is facing a deficit of approximately $1.1 million for 2017.

“We are definitely making a ton of expense cuts,” she said. “We still want to make sure our events are going in every way possible, but the tent that used to be there is no longer there, the stage that used to be there is no longer there.”

She said the organization was working to ensure the “quality of the program,” including the distribution of medals, would continue.

“That is really important to us,” she mentioned.

Brown added, “We are doing a number of things to try to bring in money that we haven’t done before, and trying to tap new resources.”

“One of those would be what we call a challenge coin,” Brown said. “Our special athletes can work hard to earn a gold silver or bronze medal. We buy those medals from a company. We went to that company and ask them to strike a challenge coin for us. They agreed to do it free of charge, so we are going to sell those to try and raise money for the shortfalls that we are experiencing.”

SOTX indicated that fundraisers statewide were affected by Harvey.

“Because of those resources going toward the recovery which is understandable, we are feeling the impact of people redirecting the funds toward the people that really are in need,” Anderson articulated.

Brown explained further, “For example, there was a group of first responders from El Paso who went into the east region to help them out. Well, that affected our fundraising in El Paso, which didn’t get a raindrop from Harvey. So things all over the state were affected by the storm.”

Garcia urged communities across Texas to consider contributing, if possible, so special Olympians could continue to pursue their passions on the field, in the pool, and on the court.

“Help people in need, and help them in the long run,” Garcia said.

Information on how to get involved in your area can be found here.