Has­ten­ing to help those hit by hur­ri­cane

Chop­ti­con, St. Mary’s Col­lege col­lect for re­lief ef­forts in Texas

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com

Although the op­por­tu­nity to do­nate sup­plies for those af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey at Chop­ti­con High School passed last week, com­mu­nity mem­bers still have a chance to con­trib­ute to St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land’s dis­as­ter re­lief ef­fort this month.

Stu­dents with the col­lege’s stu­dent gov­ern­ment as­so­ci­a­tion have ini­ti­ated St. Mary’s Col­lege Cares, a dis­as­ter re­lief ef­fort to col­lect non­per­ish­able items for a Texas school district with an es­ti­mated en­roll­ment of 65,000 stu­dents.

Cam­pus and com­muni- ty mem­bers who want to bring sup­plies by can do so on Sept. 22 and 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

St. Mary’s Col­lege Foun­da­tion Board Mem­ber Jack Saum Jr. said in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day he lent a truck to take col­lected sup­plies to Pasadena In­de­pen­dent School District in Texas. The truck will be headed there the last week­end of September, he said.

Saum said the re­lief ef­fort is “dif­fer­ent in a small way,” be­cause it in­volves col­lect­ing mostly class­room re­sources, such as pens, pen­cils and pa­per, as

well as area rugs and bean bags for class­rooms.

Items re­quested also in­cluded new, pack­aged socks, pa­per tow­els and “all types of non­per­ish­able food items,” ac­cord­ing to a col­lege re­lease.

When ef­forts like th­ese are co­or­di­nated, Saum said “the first re­ac­tion is to col­lect wa­ter and other day-to-day sup­plies … but we’ve carved out a lit­tle niche and fo­cused on” mostly class­room sup­plies such as book bags and note­books.

Saum said it is im­por­tant “to get stu­dents in­volved with rais­ing sup­plies for those [in the Hous­ton area] be­cause it pro­motes the col­lege’s mis­sion and teaches them about phi­lan­thropy.”

Al­most 80 per­cent of the school district’s 65,000 stu­dents qual­i­fies for free- and re­duced-price meals, Cindy Palmer, Pasadena In­de­pen­dent School District di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity re­la­tions said in a tele­phone in­ter­view Wed­nes­day.

“It was not a good sit­u­a­tion be­fore Hur­ri­cane Har­vey … and we were hit hard,” she said.

Palmer said the Texan school district, lo­cated in one of Hous­ton’s sub­urbs, is con­nected to South­ern Mary­land by SMCM grad Jamie Gil­man, who works in the area as a sail­ing coach.

“It’s strange how th­ese con­nec­tions work out,” Palmer said. “We can cer­tainly use the help.”

She said three of the district’s 67 cam­puses “were to­tally lost” due to flood­ing. Palmer said some of the cam­puses were mod­er­ately dam­aged, but the big­gest im­pact was on stu­dents’ homes in the sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods. “We just started school two weeks ago … and now we’re back at square one again,” she said.

“Most of the teach­ers have lost their class­room fur­ni­ture” and this re­lief ef­fort will help the teach­ers out­fit their rooms again, Palmer said. Stu­dents will be re­turn­ing to class Monday, she said.

St. Mary’s Col­lege stu­dents “fol­low the St. Mary’s Way, a con­cept adopted by the col­lege com­mu­nity that cen­ters on re­spect­ing one another and the world around us,” Tua­juanda Jor­dan, col­lege pres­i­dent, said in the re­lease. “By ini­ti­at­ing this dis­as­ter re­lief ef­fort, our stu­dents not only are fol­low­ing their code of con­duct but show­ing that they care deeply and want to re­spond.” More re­spond­ing to call for help

The South­ern Mary­land com­mu­nity re­sponded last week to the call to aid those af­fected by the hur­ri­cane with truck­loads and car­loads of sup­plies, Chop­ti­con As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Shel­ley McDaniel said. The front of­fice was swamped with baby sup­plies, blan­kets and tow­els and other items be­fore be­ing loaded on a truck pro­vided by Rus­sell Broth­ers LLC of Mor­ganza to take to Han­cock Fam­ily Farms in La Plata, McDaniel said. The sup­plies will end up at the Crosby Fire Depart­ment in Hous­ton.

McDaniel said she dis­trib­uted a list of needed sup­plies to Chop­ti­con teach­ers and staff ear­lier last week that she re­ceived from Dave Han­cock of Han­cock Fam­ily Farms. Items such as hand san­i­tizer, canned and dried foods, bat­ter­ies, socks and flip flops were in­cluded on the list, she con­tin­ued.

“The re­sponse has just been over­whelm­ing,” McDaniel said. Com­mu­nity mem­bers “who don’t have kids in school” came by to drop things off, she said.

“We had a guy come in with a brand-new pair of Nike slides,” she con­tin­ued. The man said he had pur­chased the shoes for him­self, but said “he knew th­ese peo­ple needed them more,” McDaniel said.

No cloth­ing was ac­cepted for the sup­ply col­lec­tion be­cause “we don’t want to send them what they didn’t ask for,” McDaniel said. Pet sup­plies such as leashes and food were also ac­cepted, and were driven to staff at Last Chance An­i­mal Res­cue in Wal­dorf be­fore reach­ing a des­ti­na­tion in Texas, she said.

Car­men Rus­sell, a 2006 Chop­ti­con grad­u­ate, said she heard about the sup­ply col­lec­tion when she was “scrolling through Face­book” and saw the sup­ply list post. She said she asked her su­per­vi­sor at Prince Fred­er­ick Den­tal Cen­ter if she could do­nate sur­plus tooth­paste and tooth­brushes, and was told to “take what you want.”

Ac­cord­ing to a Sept. 3 post on the Han­cock Fam­ily Farm’s Face­book page, they “will no longer be tak­ing do­na­tions” as they have filled a truck up with sup­plies. The hash­tag, #from­somd­to­tex­as­withlove, was in­cluded in other posts de­tail­ing the re­lief ef­fort on the so­cial me­dia page. Han­cock did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion about what to do­nate through St. Mary’s Col­lege, check out www.smcm.edu/news/2017/09/ stu­dents- ini­ti­ate- dis­as­ter- re­lief- ef for t- help- 56000- stu­dents-fam­i­lies-dev­as­tated-hur­ri­cane-har­vey.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI

Chop­ti­con High School As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Shel­ley McDaniel holds a bag of do­nated goods last Friday to place in a truck to be taken to Han­cock Fam­ily Farms in La Plata be­fore mak­ing its fi­nal des­ti­na­tion at the Crosby Fire Depart­ment in Hous­ton.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Up to three feet of wa­ter fills an orches­tra room at Thomp­son In­ter­me­di­ate School in Texas, one of the 67 Pasadena In­de­pen­dent School District cam­puses to be af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey, Cindy Palmer, the school district’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity re­la­tions, said Wed­nes­day.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Com­mu­nity mem­bers in Pasadena, Texas, sift through do­nated sup­plies.

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