Hurricane Harvey swept through the Texas coast last weekend, devastating entire cities with a record of almost 50 inches of rain. Students, faculty, staff and the Abilene community are offering help.
The Department of Communications and Sciences and Disorders is gathering donations in Don Morris 116 and at the new Center for Speech, Language and Learning located at 1541 Judge Ely Blvd. Lory Chrane, instructor of communication sciences and disorders said Kelsey Tykal, senior communication disorders major from Houston, asked the department to gather donations which will be picked up by her friend who works at a radio station in Houston. Donations can include diapers, flip flops, baby wipes, batteries, toiletries, pet food, flashlights, and gallon and quart Ziploc bags. Donations will be accepted until Sept. 8.
Jenn Rodgers, instructor of teacher education, is raising money through her nonprofit, World’s Okayest Mom (WOM). She grew up in Houston and her brother, Ryan, was evacuated from downtown Houston. The group is accepting donations and selling T-shirts for $24.99 that feature the state of Texas with a spiral-surrounded heart on the Texas coast.
The mission of World’s Okayest Mom is to help mothers who are on bedrest, have lost a child or are dealing with other difficult circumstances. Rodgers said women on the organization’s closed Facebook group saw another woman wearing a WOM T-shirt in a news video. The woman had been standing in line at a grocery store for hours with her son.
“That was a turning point for the women in the group,” Rodgers said. “They realized, ‘Oh wow, these are our people.'”
Within 48 hours, the group raised $5,000 through donations. The organization’s board of directors chose to donate the money in a lump sum to Preemptive Love Coalition, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. WOM posted the T-shirt design Wednesday night at 9 p.m. and had more than 200 orders by Thursday morning.
“It’s amazing that people want to help and care for a place that’s been so devastated,” Rodgers said.
Police Chief Jimmy Ellison is confident that the school will work hard to resolve this issue quickly and efficiently. While he is not involved in much of the process as student advisors are, he said, “I am quite confident in the university handling this situation.”
Hotels in the area have been honoring Governor Abbott’s suspension of both the state and local motel occupancy tax. “Comfort Suites University is also providing a 10% discount in addition to the repealed tax” said Andrea, a front desk attendant. Rocky, general manager at La Quinta Abilene, stated that their rates are already very low, but they are also honoring the tax suspension.