UNC to organize relief efforts for communities

Support expected to be long-term

Days after dozens of tornadoes raged across the state, the University is looking to extend a hand and lift N.C. communities from the rubble.

In a press release Monday, Chancellor Holden Thorp said the University would be organizing centralized on-campus relief efforts.

Thorp said the N.C. Institute for Public Health and the Carolina Center for Public Service will coordinate campus efforts and provide relief-related information.

Infobox
ATTEND THE MEETING

Time: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Location: Campus Y
Info: A meeting of UNC’s Extended Disaster Relief group

While the state doesn’t want relief volunteers in the affected regions because of safety concerns, the University is directing monetary donations to the American Red Cross and the campus Disaster Relief Fund at the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Lynn Blanchard, director of CCPS, said the University’s relief efforts will be long-term, because as the storm caused lasting damage.

“These communities take years to overcome the disasters,” she said.

Blanchard also said the University will be contacting representatives in individual communities to determine what relief is needed.

“We want to hear from the community what it is they need and then we can organize here,” she said.

“Across this University, people are reaching out and asking how we can help.”

Extended Disaster Relief, a student organization that mobilizes aid during disasters, is working to help those affected by the storms.

The group’s co-chairwoman, sophomore Tiesha Martin, said the organization met Tuesday night with the Black Student Movement and CCPS to brainstorm relief efforts.

Martin’s co-chairman, junior Alex Christian, said the organization will send volunteers to Raleigh today to help clean up Shaw University, which suffered heavy building damages.

Extended Disaster Relief plans to sit in the Pit Monday through Wednesday to collect money donations for the clean up effort at Shaw University.

The group is also planning a food drive, which Martin said she hopes will begin next Monday and continue through the end of the exam period.

Christian said volunteers will place collection bins in every residence hall prior to move-out so students can drop food off as they leave.

He said the group plans to send all food donations to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

While the food bank called for donations in a press release Tuesday, Bill Gentry, director of UNC’s community preparedness and disaster preparedness program, said the state is not currently seeking volunteer help.

“They’re still doing some assessments, and they’re still doing power restoration,” he said.

“They’re going to make sure it’s safe for volunteers to go in.”

According to the food bank release, the group is seeking various donations — particularly for its hardest hit agencies in Wake and Lee counties.

Needed items include high-protein canned foods with pop-top lids, single-serving meals, single -serving snacks and peanut butter.

Agencies are asking for goods including paper towels, napkins, paper plates, cups and plastic utensils, as well as personal hygiene products.

Students can also donate to the food bank by texting “40meals” to 50555.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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