Troy students and organizations are working together to send relief to Florida panhandle cities that have lost almost everything after Hurricane Michael’s Oct. 10 landfall.
Troy students have many options on campus for donating supplies or money toward the relief effort.
The Student Government Association and Circle K are working together to take donations in Trojan Center 215, asking for water, toiletries, baby wipes, cleaning supplies and nonperishable food (excluding canned goods).
Jessica Stein, a sophomore marketing major from Murphysboro, Illinois, and the Circle K president, had never experienced devastation from a hurricane before Hurricane Michael struck.
“I was immediately affected when I saw photos of the destruction and devastation in Mexico Beach and Panama City,” she said. “As a leader of a campus organization, I immediately turned to my club and suggested we change our upcoming events to benefit Hurricane Relief.
“When a natural disaster such as Hurricane Michael occurs, the victims absolutely need caring, dedicated volunteers to survive. It’s important to come together as a community to help whoever needs help, when they need help.”
Sigma Chi is taking donations under the pavilion at its house, and monetary donations can be sent through its Venmo account, @SigmaChi-HurricaneRelief. The fraternity is looking for cases of water, toiletries and canned goods.
The Hospitality and Tourism Club will be taking donations through Oct. 26 in McCartha 206. It is requesting baby items, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, snack and ready-to-eat foods, beverages, pet food, blankets, paper goods, ice chests and coolers.
Alpha Omega Pi is selling #PanhandleStrong T-shirts, jerseys and crewneck sweatshirts at https://www.bonfire.com/panhandle-strong/, designed by Troy student Madi McCall. Proceeds will go toward relief efforts in Panama City, Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach in Florida.
Customizable Florida support and #850strong stickers are available by contacting Meghan Davis, a Troy student, on Facebook. Stickers are $5 each and customizable with different colors and style options. Proceeds will go towards campus relief efforts.
Chi Omega is also accepting donations in front of its sorority house. According to one Chi Omega sister, some members have been loading their cars to go drop off supply donations.
Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves also asked students affected by the storm to contact the Student Services Office with their name, phone number, campus location and the needs they and their family may have so a campus organization can offer assistance.
About 20 people have contacted Student Services so far, according to Reeves.
Nick Smith, a junior exercise science major from Mobile and a member of Sigma Chi, said the unifying effort by student organizations shows the importance of banding together to help those in need.
The destruction put him “in a state of disbelief,” since he grew up near the Panhandle and many of his fraternity brothers call the area home.
“I have seen individual students, SGA and other Greek organizations not only donate much needed items but also their time and hard work to better the lives of people affected by Hurricane Michael,” Smith said. “It makes me so proud to be a part of a caring campus that is willing to step up when others are in need.”
While he “can only imagine what they’re going through,” Smith said he is driven to help even more after seeing just how much students have done.
“My want to help has been pushed by helping those dear to me, and the hope that if something were to ever happen to my city or family, the same help would be reciprocated,” Smith said.
Kassie Waddy, a sophomore elementary education major from Panama City, Florida, said she is “proud to be associated with a university that is willing to give up their time and money to help her town.”
“Not being there physically to make sure my family is OK and only being able to view the devastation through what I see on the news, the support that I am receiving from my friends by just being willing to listen to me and giving me a shoudler to cry on has made coping a little easier,” Waddy said.