Students collect donations for hurricane victims

Natalie Perry

In the wake of the Category 5 hurricane that devastated much of the U.S. southeastern coast and Caribbean islands, WKU student organizations are collecting donations for Hurricane Matthew victims.

The Big Red Chapter of National Residence Hall Honorary, WKU Student Activities and the WKU Track and Field team are collecting donations to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Due to the intense flooding and winds from the hurricane, many people have been left homeless. WKU student organizations saw this as a chance to help.

Kalyn Johnson, associate director of philanthropy for the NRHH, said in an email the donations are going directly to the families affected.

“We saw this as an opportunity for our members to serve a community that is hundreds of miles away,” Johnson said.

Students will be able to donate various items including: bottled water, cleaning supplies, toiletries, towels, wash rags, trash bags, laundry detergent, paper and plastic cups, plates, silverware and non-perishable food items.

Student Activities office worker Collin Ray said he, along with his co-workers, had a heart to help those in need. The idea to take up donations for the hurricane victims came to Ray when he was traveling back from his hometown one afternoon.

“I realized that in times of disaster, most of the things that I always have are things others have to worry about,” Ray said.

Ray said this donation drive will give WKU students and organizations a chance to showcase their caring nature. Students will have a chance to earn community service hours through Student Activities depending on the quality and quantity of the items they donate.

NRHH and Student Activities will be collecting donations until Friday. The Minton Hall and Pearce Ford Tower lobbies will serve as drop off locations for the donations beginning noon each day.

Donations through NRHH and Student Activities can also be dropped off in the Student Activities office in the Downing Student Union Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Laysha Brown, director of operations for the WKU Track and Field and Cross Country teams, said students can donate items on Thursday by dropping them off at the Track and Field room 2008 from 12-3 p.m.

“It’s just something we wanted to do as a team,” Brown said. “We thought it would be a great opportunity for student athletes with busy schedules to still be able to reach out and help.”

The Track and Field team has also collected water and canned goods. Everything collected by the team will be given to WKU Student United Way who will be traveling to affected areas to give the donations to those in need.

Student volunteers with Student Activities and NRHH will drive to Savannah, Georgia, on Friday, Oct. 28, to deliver the donations to the Salvation Army.

According to a FEMA press release, the state of Georgia has received more than 875,000 meals, 930,000 liters of water, 245 generators and 17,200 blankets so far through donations.

According to the United States Agency of International Development, more than 2.1 million people were affected in Haiti alone. More than $37 million has been raised from U.S. donations, and that money is going to the affected nations to help them begin to rebuild and restore.

“Our honorary may never see the outcome of deciding to serve through donations, but that isn’t the point,” Johnson said. “The point is to help someone else.”

Reporter Natalie Perry can be reached at 270-745-6011 and at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @natalie__carter.