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Community answers call to help Hurricane Sandy survivors in a big way

Posted: Nov 13, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief
Resident director Joy (Dierickx) Guffey '10 fills boxes that will aid in disaster relief on the East Coast.
Filling a 53-foot semi -trailer with donated blankets and cases of bottled water in one day might seem like an impossible task. But not for those who responded to Olivet’s request to help survivors of Hurricane Sandy.

During the day on Monday, November 12, 2012, generous donors from campus and the surrounding area brought a total of 2,375 cases of bottled water and 1,357 blankets to the designated collection site on Olivet’s campus. Other donations included a total of $1,300 and some canned food items.

“Seeing all the photos and news stories about the struggles people are having on the East Coast motivated me to volunteer today,” said Jose Cruz (Island Lake, Ill.), a senior communication major in Olivet’s Honors Program. “I can’t go there to help them, but I can help from here in Bourbonnais. I’m also here to show our appreciation to the donors.”

More than 100 student, staff and faculty volunteers worked at the donation site at various times throughout the day. They enthusiastically greeted donors and unloaded donations from vehicles. Temperatures hovered in the 30s for much of the day.

“I’m blessed by the excitement of the donors as they arrive and by the outpouring of generosity from our community,” said Bre Bambric (Washington, Ill.), a junior majoring in social work.

One woman donated 25 baby sweaters that she had knit. A church van from Indiana arrived with a donation of 35 fleece tied blankets that their youth group had made.

Kroger sold 15 pallets of water for the effort from a special display created by store employees at the Bourbonnais store, ordered eight more around midday and sold out of that supply as well. Store employees also assisted volunteers from Olivet to make sure that the cases of water were safely tracked and delivered to campus.

By sundown, all donations were safely packed into the trailer, awaiting Tuesday’s dawn.

The loaded trailer, plus an additional trailer containing more donations, are on the way to New York City, where donations will be received and distributed by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries from a warehouse in the Bronx area of New York City.

“All of you are amazing,” said Chaplain Mark Holcomb at the end of the busy but rewarding day.

See more photos of donations being received and loaded here.

Cadets enrolled in Olivet's Roaring Tiger ROTC Battalion