Hundreds from the ASU community attend donation drive for hurricane survivors

ASU students, staff and faculty aid Harvey and Irma victims from afar

Through multiple University-led initiatives, the ASU community continues to provide aid to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.

One such initiative, ‘Sun Devils for Texas and Florida,’ was crafted by students, residential community assistants across campus and several campus organizations. The community donation drive took place in front of Tooker House Thursday afternoon.

Shannon O’Toole, the senior community assistant for University Towers who led the event, said the University has strength in numbers.

“Something that really inspired me was seeing how all of the students wanted to take action to make a difference,” O’Toole said. “ASU is so large that we really do have the potential to make such a big change, especially if we come together.”

Just a week after it was posted, the Facebook event for the drive had over 120 confirmed attendees. 

Within the event’s first hour, over 300 people checked in, O’Toole said.

Devin Dye, a justice studies junior and community assistant in Manzanita Hall who helped with the event, said when he was presented with an opportunity to help others, he knew he couldn’t pass it up.

“It’s part of our community’s standards to help the community not only in Arizona but at large, whether that be across the nation or here at ASU,” Dye said.

Dye said the volunteers were surprised by the amount of outreach and support at the event.

“We expected a good turnout but this definitely blew our minds,” Dye said. “We opened the gates and already had a line through the door.”

The drive featured a card-making station, dog toy-making station, free food and giveaway items for attendees. Students donated clothing, nonperishable foods, school supplies and toiletries.

In the week leading up to the Thursday drive, event organizers had already received several carts of donations, O’Toole said. 

Additionally, an Amazon Wish List was created for those who couldn’t physically attend or drop off contributions but still wanted to help.

All donations will be given to the ASU Police Department, which will ship the supplies to relief centers in Texas and Florida.

O’Toole said even though Arizona isn’t directly affected by the hurricanes, it’s important that members of the community offer aid.

“There are so many Sun Devils that are from Texas and Florida and areas affected,” O’Toole said. “As a community, we need to do our best to support them.”

Andrew Piazza, a mechanical engineering freshman, said he understands how an event happening states away can still hit close to home.

“My sister lived directly in the path of Harvey,” Piazza said. “She’s told me about how most supplies have run out and they desperately need more.”

Piazza, a Tooker House resident, said anyone can help those impacted regardless of their location.

“If you can’t physically go there, donating money or shipping over food and supplies would be very beneficial to those affected,” Piazza said.

Reach the reporter at Kimberly.Rapanut@asu or follow @kimrapanut on Twitter

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