GW students launch Hurricane Sandy relief effort

Our partners at GW Today bring us details on a Hurricane Sandy relief campaign organized by GW students.

After Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Mid-Atlantic region, GW students knew they needed to help the victims of the superstorm.

GW was closed for two days due Hurricane Sandy, but students were ready to mobilize as soon as the university reopened. “Students from all across campus met to talk about what the university community could do to help,” says Amy Cohen, executive director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service.

Soon, a group of about 20 students founded “GW Responds: Sandy Relief,” a four-pronged effort that will include blood drives, a fundraising campaign, a food and supply drive and  service in affected communities. On Nov. 12, they launched the campaign’s website, where the university community can learn more about each effort and donate.

  • Blood drive

Students kicked things off last Tuesday with a fully booked blood drive with the Red Cross, filling the void after hundreds of blood drives were canceled due to the storm, Mr. Savoy said. Given the overwhelming response, they hope to host another soon; however, students can also just walk a few blocks to the Red Cross headquarters, 2025 E St., NW, and donate on their own.

  • Fundraising

That same Tuesday, students staffed a table outside election night watch parties to begin their fundraising campaign, and many took notice—including alumna and “Scandal” actress Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98, who retweeted a call to action to donate.

Over the weekend, the fundraising continued during the women’s and men’s basketball home openers at the Charles E. Smith Center. As fans filed in on Friday and Saturday, student-athletes collected donations, raising $123.

All contributions—GW Responds hopes to raise $25,000—will be donated to Adopt-A-Classroom, a nonprofit that helps teachers purchase materials for their classrooms. Adopt-A-Classroom will work with GW Responds to identify the schools hit hardest by Sandy. To donate, visit GW Responds’ website.

  • Food and supply drive

For those who want to donate food and supplies, GW Responds has a list of needed toiletries and food. Donations should be taken to GW Hillel, 2300 H St., NW. Every two weeks, volunteers will deliver the donations to sites in New York and New Jersey. Currently, supplies collected will benefit the Pinelands Junior High School emergency shelter, which houses residents of Seaside Heights, a community that was 80 percent destroyed by Sandy. Food donations will benefit the Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s Southern Branch to help residents of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and parts of Burlington counties.

  • Service trips

Relief trips to New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia are also forthcoming. GW Responds asks community members to fill out this interest form to be selected for a trip through a lottery system. Participating members would fund their own way, which will likely be around $50 a person.

Students said that the fact that Sandy has hit so close to home—or literally hit home for some in the GW community—makes this effort particularly important to them.

Read the full article at GW Today.

Find GW Responds on Twitter: @GW_Responds. Use the hashtag #GWSandyRelief.

Visit the GW Responds website here.

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