Over the past several weeks, major hurricanes caused chaos across the globe. Millions of homes were damaged. For the United States, in particular, Hurricane Harvey hit its peak intensity in Rockport, Texas.
Harvey began to form on Aug 17, and caused millions of dollars in damage. The storm left millions of Americans without basic necessities. The destruction, however, can be fixed with help from communities outside of the damage.
One of the many hurricane relief projects is to get Texas schools back up and running with the necessary supplies. The Mercyhurst Hospitality Management Department, exemplifying the core values of the university, was quick to join the project.
Zach Farsace, sophomore Hospitality Management major, participated in the project.
“The hospitality department adopted a school classroom down in Houston,” said Farsace. “The teacher and students surprisingly gave us a very short list of things they would need for the coming year. We all came together and were able to supply the classroom with notebooks, pencils, folders and paper towels for every student.”
Aaron Ellis, senior Hospitality Management major, was pleased to hear about the department’s participation in the program.
“It’s great to know that our department was able to show what our program is all about: going out and helping everyone who needs help,” said Ellis. “It’s what makes this program so special to be a part of.”
Allyson Minor, lecturer of Hospitality Management, wanted to donate and help with the project, as well as give students the opportunity to participate.
“The project was started by a teacher in the Houston area through the site Teachers Pay Teachers as a donation opportunity,” said Minor. “As a department, we knew we wanted to help those affected by Harvey, and this seemed like a great opportunity that all of our students could participate in.”
In order to participate in the project, groups had to commit to donating supplies for about 30 students. The department began collecting supplies from students and staff across campus. By the end of the collection period, more than 100 items had been donated.
Austin Shinhearl, senior Hospitality Management major, voiced his appreciation of the program.
“I didn’t personally participate, but I’m proud that our department cares for others’ well being,” Shinhearl said.
Despite the catastrophic damages in Texas and the time it will take to restore pre-Harvey conditions, the Mercyhurst community fulfilled the mission of being socially merciful and willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.
“It really puts things in perspective about how you can make a difference in people’s lives, no matter how small,” said Farsace. “Being able to help those less fortunate than yourself is an enriching experience.”
Ellis commented on the welcoming nature of the Hospitality Management Department.
“This department is one giant family. No matter who you are, you’re always welcomed by the staff and students,” Ellis said.