On any other day, a huge freight truck parked outside the Memorial Gym might have piqued students’ curiosity. But on Sept. 13 and 14, a banner on the side of the truck explained it all: “Donations to Hurricane Harvey.”
Bobby Basra, the organizer of the donation drive, is an entrepreneurship and innovation major and the Student Accounting and Finance Intern at Events Management.
“I saw the tragic events […] in Houston. I wanted to do something right away,” Basra said. “It’s important to give back to the country and community that gave us the opportunity to establish such a company, for all of us to work.”
The list of requested items for the drive was extensive, but mostly included basic necessities. Provisions such as food, socks, diapers, toiletries and shoes are all needed to help Hurricane Harvey victims rebuild their lives.
Anna Willits is a freshman nursing major from a town 30 minutes south of Houston. Her parents’ home flooded with about three feet of water during the hurricane. “Everything downstairs was pretty much ruined. But most of the major utilities in our house are upstairs so it could have been worse,” Willis said. “I think USF’s donation drive was really cool and a really nice thing to give back to so many people who lost everything they have.”
Around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, the news channel ABC7 arrived at the scene to interview and document the drive. After, Basra extended the drive to Wednesday Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to collect more items.
Chasi Valle, the Operations Assistant Manager for EMT, helped with the drive. According to Valle, many of the donations they received came from members of the community and not USF students.
The donation truck will take the supplies to a distribution center outside of Houston in Katy, Texas. The staff of the events management team helped label and box the supplies on campus before putting the items in the truck. From there, Basra said, the supplies will be sorted and dispatched to the regions that need each genre of provisions most.
EMGS spread the word through a variety of platforms. Posters were printed out and put on sandwich boards around the campus. On Monday, Sept. 10, an email notice went out from Student Leadership, and individual students spread the word on their social media accounts.
In just two weeks, Basra, with the help of Events Manager and Houston native Jennifer Ryan Hogan, EMT staff and EMGS student volunteers had the event completely organized.
Featured Photo: USF faculty and students participating in the Hurricane Harvey Drive. The truck will be driven to Katy, Texas to benefit hurricane victims. Hursh Karkhanis / FOGHORN