When Hurricane Sandy struck the East coast in late October, students at the College of Mount St. Joseph (MSJ) in Ohio asked what could they do to help storm victims. The students turned to Kristen Hedgebeth, MSJ’s service learning director, to help coordinate a relief effort.
A few calls later, the result was a campus-wide campaign to collect supplies for Matthew 25: Ministries of Blue Ash, Ohio, one of the relief agencies aiding storm victims.
Hedgebeth set up collection headquarters in her office, in the MSJ Career Center. Emails were sent out across campus. Word of mouth did the rest. They had to act fast to get the donations to Matthew 25: Ministries in time before their truck convoys headed to the storm zone.
Hedgebeth said much-needed supplies were collected, including blankets, tarps, diapers and baby formula. Around 10-15 bags filled up the trunk and back of her car. Monetary donations also came in.
The items were dropped off at the Matthew 25: Ministries warehouses on Saturday and quickly loaded onto trucks to head to storm-hit areas.
Joodi Archer of Matthew 25: Ministries (M25M) says the agency “estimates that a total of 50 truckloads of aid will be distributed in the disaster region in the upcoming months.”
Hedgebeth, in a statement to the MSJ campus yesterday, wrote, “Your generous donations had a big impact on Matthew 25: Ministries Hurricane Sandy relief/collection efforts…. Community members came together to organize and package resources to be shipped to the east coast and other areas still struggling as a result of the storms. M25M asked that we pass along a message of sincere thanks for helping them to continue to serve Hurricane Sandy victims.”
MSJ professor Bill Lonneman also spent a week helping relief efforts in New York and Connecticut as a volunteer for the Red Cross. The storm had a devastating impact and its effect will take many months to overcome. Donations and assistance coming from the Mount and others will go a long way toward helping this recovery.
Author note: To write this story I ran one mile to the MSJ campus and one mile back. This run also raised money for Hurricane Sandy relief through Charity Miles, a free cell phone app. For every mile run a donation is being made currently to Feeding America’s Hurricane relief fund to supply emergency foodbanks in the storm areas.