Brookhaven helps in wake of storm

SPECIAL SECTION

Thousands of Gulf Coast residents have arrived in the Metroplex and Brookhaveans provide assistance and relief for Harvey victims.

By John C. McClanahan
Copy Desk Chief

Brookhaven College students, staff and faculty are contributing to the relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey’s aftermath left Houston area residents homeless or surrounded by floodwaters, with an estimated 30,000-40,000 homes destroyed, according to ABC News. The storm has also impacted residents of other south Texas regions and Louisiana, according to CNN.

Though Brookhaveans have participated in Harvey relief efforts, there are still donation procedures one should be familiar with. Hazel Carlos, an English professor, said a local donation center she visited handled collections of essential items for hurricane victims, distributed the donations among various Dallas refugee centers to make the relief effort more economical.

Carlos said, “They distribute [donations] based on what the relief center needs, so that no center just receives a lot of things that cannot be used.”

Carlos said she shared an American Red Cross donation flier with her students which directed local donors to Trusted World, a North Texas-based non-profit organization. She said she hoped the flier would grab her students’ attention and encourage them to participate in relief efforts.

Carlos also said she had family in the Houston area, some of whom were stranded by Harvey’s floodwaters. “It’s kind of an eerie feeling to know that you have all that [flooding] around you, but regardless of where you would want to go, you can’t get out of the area,” Carlos said. “The only thing I can see happening [for the relief] is if it’s a Red Cross-approved collection center and you take your items there, and they distribute them according to the needs of the various relief centers.”

Thom Chesney, Brookhaven president, said the Dallas County Community College District allocated a donation drop-off spot at Brookhaven in Room A206.

“It seemed very familiar to Katrina, and I started thinking, ‘There are going to be a lot of people that are displaced, and a lot of people are going to be evacuating that have needs,’” Chesney said. “So, when we began to work together as a district, I went into that mode of what we can do to put something together and get the word out.”

The drop-off is designated for anyone, including those unaffiliated with the campus, to donate food items, clothing and other essentials for hurricane victims. Chesney said the items are collected and taken to Metrocrest Services, a social service organization in Farmers Branch.

“We knew immediately coming out of the weekend that we needed to look for the opportunities that fit best for our colleges and everyone,” Chesney said. “We know this need is ongoing, so if anyone should want to donate [goods], we’ll take them and we’ll get them to Metrocrest Services.”

Brookhaveans are also contributing to the Harvey relief campaign in other ways. Anthony Krajewski, Office of Student Life service learning coordinator, said he shared a link to Voly, a volunteer recruitment website, in a campuswide email. “We use this website a lot for our own service learning opportunities,” Krajewski said. “And when I first heard them opening shelters in D-FW, [Voly] was the main link I saw posted for trying to reserve volunteer spaces.”

Krajewski also said he included a couple of websites in the email that are used to help volunteers and donors avoid scam charities.

Jennifer Allen, a history professor, and Twist, her certified therapy Doberman, also served storm victims in need of emotional support. “Both adults and children were happy to have a dog around as they wanted,” Allen said in an email to The Courier. “As soon as they saw Twist, we got smiles. The situation is stressful, and will only become more stressful as the evacuees are able to get to Dallas, so this will be a long situation in need of help.”

Bears athletics have also participated in Harvey relief efforts. In an email to The Courier, Kevin Hurst, Brookhaven athletics director, said the Bears basketball program collected items for Trusted World. Brookhaven also hosted the San Jacinto Invitational women’s volleyball tournament Sept. 1, which was originally to be held at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, before Harvey struck.

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