Students volunteer in support of hurricane victims

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Graphic by Margaret Mellott

Kim Harms

News editor

kharms3@jccc.edu

Three weeks ago Hurricane Harvey lead a destructive path through Texas and surrounding states. A week later, Hurricane Irma devastated the Caribbean and the southeast section of the United States, specifically Florida.

The storms together have caused over a hundred deaths, left thousands without food or shelter and millions without power. Phi Theta Kappa, the Honors program, Service-Learning and the Human Sciences department will volunteer with Heart to Heart on Tues, Sept. 19. They will assemble and pack approximately 450 hygiene kits for hurricane victims.

“We were approached by a faculty member who had found the organization and worked with the organization before, and she was just looking to partner across campus,” said Anne Turney, Manager for Student Life. “We were looking for something to do quickly and respond within a timely manner. Heart to Heart has everything set up for us; they had the supplies ready so everything fell into place from there.”

In addition to hurricane relief, the college has supported and donated to past relief efforts both local and international. Keith Davenport, manager for Student Activities, said the biggest service projects at the college every year were the food drives for the food pantry on campus and JCCC Gives.

“Two years ago, with the earthquake in Nepal, several student organizations collaborated and raised at least 500 dollars to send to relief efforts,” Davenport said. “Last [semester], Student Senate sponsored a response to the apartment complex fire that happened just down the street. There’s also been other relief efforts for individual staff or faculty members who had emergencies in their lives.”

There are several ways students can help with disaster relief, and other service projects on campus. Service-Learning provides opportunities for students to get involved with the community.

“We do have a brand new Service-Learning coordinator, if students are interested in doing Service-Learning they’re a great contact to start with,” Turney said. “Clubs and organizations are always doing different things as well. Student Senate is always open to ideas, they meet on Mondays at noon. Approaching and pitching an idea to them would be another great way to get involved.”

When Turney volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in college, she said the experience changed her life and gave her a new perspective. Turney encourages students to get involved with service opportunities because of the personal changes that come with serving others.

“I think it’s important while you’re going to college, figuring who you are and what you want to be in the world, having participation in Service-Learning gives you an opportunity to really explore that,” Turney said. “I think it provides the opportunity to help people who need help and to figure out what does service mean to me, what does that mean for my life in general.”

Students can sign up for additional volunteer opportunities at www.hearttoheart.org. Online donations can also be made at Heart to Heart’s website.

 

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