Washburn students to help hurricane -ravaged state over winter, spring break

Travis Perry

In the aftermath of the devastation that was caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the southern United States has been left in shambles, scrambling to pick up the pieces of its former life. In an effort to aide in the relief effort, several students at Washburn have decided to donate their time over both the winter and spring breaks to help hurricane victims in Mississippi.

According to Nick Woolery, a Washburn student heading up the trip, there is a diverse group of students planning on traveling down to help.

“(There are) students from the Criminal Justice Association, some law students, some Bonner Leaders and some of the Greeks, so we’ve just had a good response,” said Woolery.

The date set for the trip is Jan. 3 – Jan. 10, as well as over spring break. While there were many houses that were completely destroyed by the hurricanes, many more were damaged to the point that they are uninhabitable, and those will be the focus of students involved in this service trip.

“We’re going to help restore those houses, and basically anything else they need help with down there,” said Woolery. “The estimate at this moment (for the number of students) is 40. It could be a few more, depending on how many Greeks end up going.”

The idea for the trip was brought up through the Bonner Leaders organization, which is a national civic program. It is designed to help students become more involved in their community by having their members pledge a commitment to 900 hours of community service over the course of two years.

“We thought this would be a good program to get some leadership going, and to see if students would want to get involved with this, and there has been a good response,” said Woolery. Working through Christus-Victor Lutheran Church in Ocean Springs, Miss., they will be sending their people out in work groups of eight to 10 people.

“We’ll have three to four groups going out, and it takes two days to restore a house. I’d say each work group would get about two, maybe three houses done. Around 10 to 12 houses will get restored,” said Woolery.

Not everyone has the time or the ability to pick up and leave for another part of the country, though. For those people staying at home, there are still ways to contribute to the relief effort.

Currently the supplies that are needed most are house-restoration and food related, and any donated supplies will be taken down with the group.

Students interested in helping with the need for supplies can contact Woolery at [email protected]