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ONU's hand in the Hurricane Harvey relief

The UMCOR has a standardized list of items designed to be sent to disaster relief areas in buckets (photo/Michigan Area United Methodist Church).

Upon arrival to the U.S. gulf coast, Harvey had become a category 4 hurricane. According to ABC News, an “estimated 30,000 to 40,000 homes” were destroyed in Houston as a result of Hurricane Harvey (Allen, Osborne, Jacobo, Nestel, Winsor, 2017). 

Considering the destruction caused by the storm, Ohio Northern organized a donation of items to be sent to Texas. With the help of Rev. David MacDonald of the ONU Religions Department the ONU community gathered 26 flood “buckets”, 10 hygiene kits, and over $700 to help aid those who lost everything. The flood buckets contained items that were meant for cleaning and sanitary needs. The hygiene kits contain items such as a washcloth, soap, and a toothbrush for those in need. On top of the $700 raised, each bucket is appraised to be $65 each, totaling to over $2300 in aid that has been sent to Texas. 

When discussing the topic of ONU’s hand in helping the relief efforts, Rev. MacDonald explained how ONU initially became involved.

It started with a student who came to me who is from the Houston area. They expressed concerns for family members in the area and wanted to know if there was something we could do to help.”

Rev. MacDonald is a United Methodist Pastor who has connections with the who are in the United Methodist committee on Relief (UMCOR), a non-profit Methodist organization that provides relief to those affected by tragedy.

After consulting the committee, Rev. MacDonald was presented a standardized list that contained items meant for daily use and cleaning that were meant for post-disaster relief. In the following days, the list was presented to the ONU community, and a mass of supplies were gathered, ready to be sent to those in need. 

“I was extremely proud. We had a huge response.”

Rev. MacDonald expressed his pride in the ONU community after seeing what it could do for those in need. If necessary, Rev. Macdonald stated a second donation may take place if the Texas and Florida communities are still in need after the devastating hurricanes. MacDonald explained that in a second donation, things like baby diapers, baby formula, and monetary donations are expectable. Donations of clothing are not recommended, as this can cause a “flood of clothing” that the community is not in serious need of.

If you have any concerns about future relief donations or have questions about what can be done to help, please contact Rev. David MacDonald (d-macdonald@onu.edu) of the ONU’s Office of the Chaplain located in the Burgett Wing of the chapel or go to UMCOR.org to learn more.