ULV family helps Katrina victims

Andres Rivera
Staff Writer

As the murky water continues to recede in disaster stricken New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, the University of La Verne is working with the Church of the Brethren.

They are sending care packages and making plans for a possible clean-up trip later this year.

An informational letter was passed out to students during the all school picnic held Sept. 9 detailing how students could get involved with the relief effort.

“We had significant contributions at the all school picnic,” said Laura Rich, who was in charge of the Student Resource Center donation site.

“The amount of donations grew scarce after the picnic in that particular donation site,” Rich said.

Donations were compiled in three locations around the campus through Sept. 16: the chapel, Barkley building and the Student Resource Center.
In all, more than $1,000 was collected, enough to make 100 of each kit.

“It was pretty moving,” said Deborah Roberts, campus minister. “It goes to show even if you have an extra dime, it all adds up. It makes a difference.”

Health and kids kits were assembled Sept. 21 as a short-term response to the disaster.

Students were encouraged to be involved in the kit assembly process at the Church of the Brethren Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

There were two types of kits, one designated for children and one for health.

“There were so many people that want[ed] to volunteer,” Roberts said.

“There were at least 50 calls on campus.”

Health kits costing $12 each included items such as towels, soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Children’s kits, costing $24 each, included a stuffed bear, crayons, pencils, rulers, construction paper and other items to allow children to entertain themselves.

After the kits were assembled they were sent to the Church of the Brethren Disaster Relief center in Baltimore.

From there, the kits will be sent to evacuation centers through the Church World Service.

Faculty and students have also called offering their services for future endeavors relating to the relief effort. Roberts has been excited to see such a large response.

While the care kits are being sent to evacuation centers, Philip Hofer, director of the International and Study Abroad Center; along with Robert Beebe, assistant director of Facilities Management; Jeff Boster, safety specialist; and other staff members delivered clothes to Catholic Charities in Rancho Cucamonga who were collecting for the victims of Katrina.

The clothes were originally donated for relief efforts following a deadly typhoon in Mexico three years ago but were not able to go through customs.

Roberts is working with the Red Cross as well as the Emergency Disaster Relief in arranging other opportunities to help.

She is also working on expanding the local effort so that it will involve the entire community.

Long-term proposals include a possible trip to the Gulf Coast during the Thanksgiving or winter breaks, offering displaced college students a place at ULV and sponsoring families.

“There were students, which live in the area, that were going to school in Louisiana and have requested to attend,” Roberts said.

Andres Rivera can be reached at arivera@ulv.edu.

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Posted September 23, 2005
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