Campus Continues Hurricane Relief Appeals

prayer for hurricane victims
Campus pastor Brian Martin Burholder, joined by YPCA co-presidents Jene� High (center) and Emily Sims, leads a prayer of dedication for the relief check that will be forwarded to Mennonite Disaster Service.
Photo by Jim Bishop

A student-initiated fund-raising effort at Eastern Mennonite University raised $3,392.63 as of Wednesday, Sept. 28, toward relief efforts of victims of the Gulf Coast hurricane.

The effort was launched by the Young People’s Christian Association (YPCA) during a Sept. 9 chapel service. YPCA co-presidents Rachel A. Sims and Jene� L. High announced the campaign and challenged students, faculty and staff to make donations in buckets placed at strategic locations across campus.

A dedicatory prayer was offered for the check, that will be sent to Mennonite Central Committee headquarters in Akron, Pa., earmarked for Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) work in the Gulf region.

In expressing gratitude for the campus response, Ms. Sims, an EMU junior from Perkasie, Pa., urged everyone to "keep on praying for the many people whose lives have been changed completely" by the hurricanes and flooding.

"I believe that when natural disasters happen, and we see the devastation that happens to fellow human beings, we realize how human we really are, said Ms. High, an EMU junior from Manheim, Pa. "We see that life does not go on, and hard times come to uproot our plans and ideas for the future.

"I think we respond in helping those who are hurting because we recognize that it could be us someday or has been us in the past," High said. "We respond as far as our empathy extends. Humans are about connections. If there is a strong connection to another individual, or situation, we are moved further into empathy. This, in turn, develops our response."

Campus Ministres launched a second disaster response during Wednesday’s chapel, being called "The Katrina-Rita-Rama Relief Race" to assemble relief kits for MCC.

Andrea J. Kniss and Carissa J. Sweigart announced the new goal of assembling 200 kits
During a Sept. 28 chapel, Andrea Kniss (l.) and Carissa Sweigart challenge the EMU assembly to begin collecting items for the MCC relief kits.
Photo by Jim Bishop

EMU seniors Andrea J. Kniss and Carissa J. Sweigart announced the start of the drive with a goal of assembling 200 kits by Oct. 19.

The contest will involve nine teams – the six residence halls, Parkwood Apartments, Commuter Fellowship and faculty/staff. Each team will be assigned one or two items to collect for the kits. The group with the highest number of supplies in kit units at the end of the three-week period will receive a prize.

An MCC relief kit consists of four bars bath soap, a package of sanitary pads, a plastic bottle of shampoo, fingernail clippers, a box of adhesive bandages, hairbrush, wide-tooth comb, toothpaste, laundry detergent and bath towel.

In another campus response to the Gulf Coast devastation, EMU’s athletic department raised $1,396 on Saturday, Sept. 17 during home contests in field hockey, men’s soccer and women’s soccer.

As part of the fundraiser, EMU sold previously-used athletic uniforms from a variety of the school�s 17 sports. Several uniforms dated back over 10 years when the institution was known as Eastern Mennonite College.

Most articles of clothing sold for between $5 and $20, with 100 percent of all money collected going directly to charities aiding in the relief efforts. The initial idea for the fundraiser originated with an EMU student-athlete.

Sufficient quantities of the uniforms remain for a future fundraiser. The athletic department plans to hold an additional sale during EMU�s homecoming celebration on Oct. 15.