Hurricane Florence devastates the Carolinas: students initiate fundraising efforts

Gabrielle Tropp

In the past two weeks, Hurricane Florence swept through North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia as a Category 4 storm, bringing with it high winds, heavy rains, and a sad death toll. Fortunately, for many students at Lafayette from the area, the storm passed without causing permanent damage to their homes.

According to CBS news, at least 37 people died during the hurricane, and thousands more were left without food and water. As of Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of people were still without power.

Many Lafayette students call North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia home, and were faced with the news that their families and friends back home were forced to evacuate as a precautionary measure.

Liza Thomspon ‘21, from Charleston, SC, said that her family home was fine, but her parents were forced to come to Pennsylvania to evacuate because closer inland cities were already full of evacuees.

Maxine Blech ‘22 had friends at schools in both North and South Carolina who had to seek refuge other places for an entire week. Thompson and Blech were able to keep in contact with their loved ones back home, so they fortunately were not left wondering how the storm was effecting them.

Dean of Students Chris Hunt said he reached out to dozens of Lafayette students whose families were in the path of the storm. In his message to those students, he wrote, “I just want to let you know that Lafayette College stands with you, your families, and friends. If a need arises and you need help, please let us know.”

Sixteen rivers in North Carolina were in the flood stage this past Tuesday, with more expected to flood as the hurricane’s rain became runoff, according to Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s governor. Three feet of rain fell over Elizabethtown, North Carolina, reported a CBS affiliate in the area.

The people of the affected areas are facing a long journey towards rebuilding their homes, communities, and infrastructures, and clean water is still needed for the residents of these flooded cities.

In an effort to help these communities recover, one campus group is sending support to the area directly. Hillel Society has started a fundraiser that will benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

“As Hillel’s social action team, we strive to do everything in our power to support and strengthen not just the local community but the national community as well,” Sydney Edelson ‘19, Hillel’s Vice President of Social Action, said.

This fundraiser is operating via cash donations at Hillel and Venmo. Hillel hopes to raise $200 by the end of the week.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that for anyone looking to help, the best thing to do is send monetary donations to trusted organizations. A list of organizations, many of them religious, can be found on the National Voluntary Organizations After a Disaster website.