Troy University and the Troy community are teaming together to provide aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall between Port Aranas and Port O’Connor, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 25.
Troy students, alumni and the community have responded by donating various non-perishable items, money and time.
Douglas Dick, a senior risk management insurance major from Panama City, Florida, and SGA’s vice president of campus activities, sent out an email on Tuesday to all Troy students providing an opportunity for students to participate in relief efforts for Harvey.
“On behalf of the Student Government Association, I wanted to inform you all of University-Wide efforts we are starting to encourage everybody to take action and donate in this great time of need,” Dick said in the email. “We are calling this effort ‘Together We Rise for Relief.’ A lot of students are asking, ‘What can I do?’ and the most beneficial way to provide aid at this time is to donate financially.”
Those who would like to donate can visit the link: https://www.gofundme.com/sun-belt-saac-hurricane-relief, which is the Sunbelt Conference’s Gofundme page.
The funds will be administered to the Red Cross, an organization that assists with disaster relief, in the Houston area.
“This is a University-wide effort to really bring Trojans together to help our fellow men and women in need in Houston, Texas,” Dick said in an interview with the Tropolitan. “One of my goals is to encourage and empower organizations and really encourage one another to really get after this.”
Joe Payne, a senior economics major from Skipperville and president of Lambda Chi fraternity, said he and about fourteen other guys will be traveling to Houston on Friday morning at 5 a.m. to bring items to the area.
“We really just saw a need,” Payne said. “You (students) just need to provide hope to others.”
Currently, Payne said the group is comprised primarily of fraternity members who will be going, but if any decide they can no longer attend, more able-bodied men are welcome to join.
Payne said they will be partnering with a local church in the area when they arrive and meeting up with Troy University Admission Counselors Jacob Grant and Tony Weaver who left Troy on Wednesday.
“I think we will mainly be doing food distribution, when we arrive, to whoever needs it,” Payne said. “There will be a lot of brokenness that can be rebuilt.”
Donations, primarily consisting of non-perishable food items, cases of water and hygiene products, can be dropped off at four locations including the Troy Chick-fil-A on Highway 231, Hazel’s Gifts and Engraving store in downtown Troy, the Lambda Chi house and the SGA office.
The team will be gathering and taking all the donations on their trip, along with five trucks and five trailers.
“It is a great cause to be a part of, and if you choose to be a part of it, I feel like you will get just as much out of it as the people you are serving,” Payne said.
Payne also said that the Troy alumni have been a huge supporter of this effort, and it started a chain reaction.
“Alumni started giving and sending funding, and it created a domino effect, and others started joining in,” Payne said.
The storm began on Aug. 18 as a slow-moving tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico and developed into a Category 1 hurricane on Aug. 24 before hitting land.
“For comparison, Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 storm when it made landfall in Louisiana in 2005,” according to a USA Today report.
Extreme rainfall and flooding occurred after Harvey hit land again on Aug. 30 near Port Arthur, Texas, and western Louisiana.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a major disaster declaration on Aug. 25.
FEMA Administrator William Long told the Weather Channel that he anticipates “at least 450,000 people will need emergency assistance in the wake of Harvey.”
“On behalf of the Student Government Association, I wanted to inform you all of