BG fundraises for hurricane survivors

By Emily Gielink and By Emily Gielink

Hurricane survivors are returning to their homes to find gutted, unsanitary conditions. Despite the storm being over, the Bowling Green community is collecting donations for hurricane survivors to rebuild their lives.

At the University, students have been taking matters into their own hands. Fundraisers have been popping up across the town, including Walking Taco Night, organized by the Zeta-Lambda chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity; clothing donation tables set up by BGSU Fadwatch; and Paws and Pints, a fundraiser set up by senior supply chain management student Bradford Elliot.

BG Falcon Media is hosting a donation drive from Sept. 25 through Sept. 28. Student groups can compete for the largest number of $5 donations, and the winning organizations earn a $100 donation for their charity of choice.

The American Red Cross is also actively looking for blood donors for blood drives held on campus. From Sept. 5 to Sept. 7, the American Red Cross received approximately 269 units of blood from the University, intended for Harvey survivors. The blood could save more than 269 lives, according to Brandon Alt, senior and president of the American Red Cross Club on campus.

“We are also considering donating our club funds to the disaster reliefs for Irma and Harvey,” Alt said.

These funds and donation drives will help victims of the hurricane, like Sheri Erickson, a Texas resident from the Woodlands.

Erickson and her family were able to evacuate their home before Harvey made landfall. After a week in Austin, her family of five could return home. The drive back to her house was a sight Erickson said she will never forget.

“It was depressing. I have had a hard time sleeping several nights, and (the destruction) is so widespread,” Erickson said.

She is a volunteer at her local church, where they have set up a store for survivors to take whatever they need – everything being free of charge. Erickson is also helping with house clean-up, as some surrounding neighborhoods endured more damage.

“Our neighborhood was fine,” Erickson said, “but within a half mile of us, there was significant flooding and ruined homes.”

Erickson’s home was just one of thousands impacted by the storms that ripped through southern states. Hurricane Maria missed most of the mainland United States but caused significant damage to Puerto Rico. With some small islands wiped out and the widespread devastation in Texas and Florida, the destruction throughout the lower United States could take years to rebuild.

Other efforts to help out hurricane victims are being coordinated by the Bowling Green City School District. They are raising money to send to hurricane victims. Every school in the district is selling t-shirts for $10. The shirts match the theme for the high school football game against Perrysburg.

“The shirts will be on sale until they run out, and any extras will be sold at the game on Sept. 29,” Corey Sexton, Bowling Green High School library media specialist, said.

At the game, schools will also collect non-perishable items and conduct a 50/50 raffle, in which one-third of the proceeds will go toward hurricane relief. Any monetary donations can be dropped off at the high school’s main office, Monday through Friday, until Sept. 29. The total donation will be presented to the Red Cross the week following the event.

With such widespread devastation across many southern states and islands, the fundraising efforts of the Bowling Green community may not be able to replace the items lost by these victims, but will go toward rebuilding their lives and homes, one dollar at a time.