Hurricane damage in Puerto Rico
10.24.2017
By Roanoke College News

RC Students and Staff Organize Hurricane Relief Efforts

Several individuals in the Roanoke College community have begun organizing relief efforts for areas impacted by this fall's hurricanes. 

Virgin Islands:

Tsedek Roberts '18 is one of the nine students enrolled at Roanoke College from the Virgin Islands. She began an on-campus donation drive for those in the Islands who were hit by Hurricane Irma and Maria. Roberts is working in collaboration with the Chaplain's Office, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Affairs. The Virgin Islands are currently in need of assistance in any way possible. Thousands of U.S. citizens are currently suffering in the Islands due to insufficient supplies, so it is important to bring awareness to this situation. 

Daniel Smith '19, a student from the island of St. John, has organized an on-campus relief effort, V.I. Strong, to aide those affected by Hurricane Irma. He is working with several fundraisers to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Irma in the Virgin Islands. In addition, Smith has designed a shirt available for purchase with all of the proceeds going towards these fundraisers: the St. John Victims of Hurricane Irma, the Virgin Islands United Relief Fund, and lastly, the U.S. Virgin Island Relief Fund. The table for V.I. Strong is located in the Colket Center outside of Commons, where they are selling the shirts there as well as accepting supply donations for the donation drive.

Brianna Webster '21 is from the Virgin Islands and her home was heavily impacted by Maria. The island where she lives is not expected to have power until December and they are relying heavily on generators. Many homes on the islands were destroyed in the hurricanes. "The true beauty of the Islands is its people of resilience and strength," Webster said. Although relief efforts seem slow, those in the Islands continue to stay optimistic. 

Roberts compiled a list of items needed by the community. The list includes:

  • toothbrushes/toothpaste
  • soap
  • diapers and baby wipes
  • water
  • deodorant
  • sanitary napkins and tampons
  • towels,washcloths and wipes
  • first aid kits
  • socks
  • blankets
  • adult diapers for the elderly.

Financial support can be made through The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, a local non-profit organization. The link to donate is here. All supply donations can be dropped off at the Chaplain's Office, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Colket Center.

5K Fundraiser for Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund:

Leah Weinstein '18, president of the Student Government Association, is collaborating with a Hollins University student to organize a 5K fundraiser to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria. They are working together in an effort to bring both the college and local communities together to help those affected by the hurricanes.

"Roanoke College has students who hail from the areas affected and it is our duty to support our fellow Maroons and help in any way we can," Weinstein said.

The 5K will take place on Saturday, October 28 at 10 a.m. on Roanoke College's Alumni track and the course will wind around the perimeter of the campus. Registration begins at 9 a.m.. Those interested in participating may register online, in Commons, or at the event. To register online, click this link. Those wishing to register in Commons may do so at the Info Desk during lunch and dinner. The cost to participate is $5 for the public and $3 for students. All proceeds from the 5K will be going to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. Those who would like to donate can visit the Facebook Page for the event. In-kind and cash/check donations will also be accepted on the day of the 5K. 

Roanoke College students that would like to assist with this event should contact the SGA Public Relations Chair Sara Hoose at slhoose@roanoke.edu.

Puerto Rico:

Whitney Anderson, the internet communications manager for the college, is organizing aid and relief efforts in Puerto Rico, where she has family and friends. Anderson met her husband while studying in Puerto Rico and later worked in the State Department.

Some of her family members lost all of their belongings in the flood, and her aunt lost her roof to the wind. Much of the island remains without power and clean water one month out. The Andersons are helping people in the town of Ciales in the interior mountainous area.

There is an urgent need for supplies for citizens to sustain themselves, and Mrs. Anderson and her family have created a wishlist on Amazon with some items that are needed. They are also accepting monetary donations through PayPal and checks in order to purchase these items and ship them down themselves. Contact Anderson at wanderson@roanoke.edu for further information or with any questions about donations. The Anderson family's efforts were recently highlighted by The Roanoke Times in a column by Dan Casey.