The Austin College Service Center launched the Helping Harvey’s Heroes campaign this week to raise money for the American Red Cross in benefit of Hurricane Harvey victims. Events will be held from Aug. 4 through Aug. 8 in order to raise awareness and funds.
The service station is run by a student board of 16 members. Co-chair Aneesa Vaidya, a senior at AC, said they are working on making a firm schedule for next week.
“Overall, throughout the week, we are going to be selling bracelets and making sure that people are aware of what they can do to help out,” Vaidya said. “We want to make them aware of different organizations and other ways that they can help. And if they have family in Houston, there are support groups that they can go to. Making sure that they are aware of what resources that they have to make things better for them and for their family. Overall, we want to provide support for them emotionally.”
The tentative schedule includes a candlelight vigil on Monday, followed by a blood drive on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday will be designated for restaurant fundraisers. Friday will be focused on bringing positively rather than just awareness to the situation and will be highlighted by a raffle.
Vaidya went on to explain that the college has many students whose families were affected by the storm
“We are such a small community,” Vaidya said. “It only makes sense to help each other out. To be there for each other in times of need. I know that if I was going through something I would have a boat load of support from my friends and my community. It only makes sense to do the same for them.”
One such affected student is senior Sebastian Bohlmann. He said his family is located in the North Katy area.
“My family doesn’t get to go out of the house right now because of the flooding in the streets,” Bohlmann said. “Thankfully, it’s not affecting my house right now, but south Katy is pretty flooded and people have had to evacuate. My brother hasn’t had school for a while. They haven’t left the house in about four or five days. They are just waiting it out.”
Bohlmann said he appreciates how close the Austin College community is and that they have an outreach program that can provide assistance.
“So many of my peers, including myself, live in that area or have family in that area,” Bohlmann said. “Last night by itself, I had four or five people tell me that their houses were flooded and their family had to leave or move to the second floor.”
A sophomore at the college, Marina Wise said her home only suffered minor damage.
“I am from the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, so we are pretty close to Rockport,” Wise said. “Most of my family and grandparents are from the greater Houston area. They’re dealing with a lot of flooding and haven’t been able to leave the house since Saturday. School has been canceled for my cousins for the whole week.”
Wise’s uncle is a DPS State Trooper that was evacuated during the storm surge.
“He’s back now but their airport hanger where they were keeping the troopers was destroyed,” Wise said. “That was their office and supplies and everything. Coming from South Texas, Rockport is right next to the valley, and so we have always prided ourselves on being such a beautiful place. To see our neighbors right next to us all of that beauty stripped away, it’s just really tragic for us because that could’ve been us.”
The Sherman community can be a part of the Helping Harvey’s Heroes campaign by donating items for the raffle. Once restaurants are finalized for the fundraiser, members of the community can also contribute by dining there during the fundraising hours.