Mercyhurst sends aid to Hurricane Matthew victims

Melanie Todd, Staff writer

Mercyhurst’s Students of the Caribbean Association raised $149.18 for CARE, an organization helping those affected by Hurricane Matthew. The category 5 hurricane hit Haiti on Oct. 4 and left nearly 900 dead and thousands more homeless, according to Reuters reports.

Originally, the hurricane was projected to hit Jamaica, which brought to the attention of the student organization.

“Knowing the strength of the hurricane and anticipating its effects, we continued to monitor it though its path had changed,” said Janelle Campbell, president of the Students of the Caribbean Association. “Upon realizing the destruction in Haiti, places becoming inaccessible, destruction to property and the growing death toll, we knew we had to do anything possible to help our neighbor.”

Initially, the students sought to send supplies to the victims of the hurricane, but understanding the distance between Erie and the Caribbean, that plan quickly changed.

“We began looking into organizations working to collect monetary donations for Haiti’s hurricane relief and settled on CARE. A lot of thought was put into making the decision as we even had the organization vetted by accredited sources,” Campbell said.

CARE ultimately seemed to be the best fit for the Students of the Caribbean Association to partner with.

“CARE assists by providing aid in times of conflict and disaster so that those impacted can rebuild their lives,” Campbell said.

Students developed a fundraising campaign “We stand with Haiti” for the week of Oct. 17 to collect donations. Students stopped by offices of staff members and manned a table in both the Student Union and Zurn so that students could give their donations.

“The goal was to raise at least $200. However, we raised a total of $149.18 by the end of our collection period. Despite not reaching our goal, we do consider it a success,” Campbell said.

Even from a distance, students from Mercyhurst University showed they care by supporting the campaign.

“Altogether it was a team effort, from those directly involved in planning to those who showed their support. We take the time to say thank you,” Campbell said.

This particular project was very personal for Campbell because she has lived through the destruction of a hurricane.

“Personally, I was driven to do the collection because despite not being from Haiti or having connections there, I know that as a region it’s important that we are our brother’s/sister’s keeper.
I’ve experienced a hurricane before and I understand the severity of the situation though my experience is incomparable to what they are now experiencing.

“I do realize that several other places, even within the region, were affected; however, Haiti suffered the brunt of it. It could have been my country and I’m certain that it would have been a major setback, so I know that at this time they need all the help they can get,” Campbell said.