As Hurricane Florence subsides and recovery efforts begin in Eastern North Carolina, the UNC Athletics Department is running a donation drive this week to lend a hand to the affected communities.
UNC Athletics will be collecting items in the Williamson Center parking lot, across from the Smith Center, this week from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to noon this Friday.
Senior Associate Athletic Director Rick Steinbacher said the football team will use their 53-foot equipment truck to transport supplies and do their part to aid recovery efforts.
“I think just about everybody in North Carolina spent a lot of time watching the news forecast and then the news coverage of Hurricane Florence just to see the devastation," Steinbacher said. "And the loss of homes, unfortunately even the loss of lives, moves anybody to want to help."
Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service, said the supplies collected during the donation drive will benefit the people of Robeson County, including many in the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
“Robeson County was particularly hit hard after (Hurricane) Matthew, and the University has been involved in relief efforts there for the last two years,” she said. “We felt like we already had a strong partnership with them, and that we were familiar not only with the folks who are working on it there, but with folks who have spent a lot of time in that community.”
Joshua Oliver, owner of Marrins’ Mooving — the company that owns the football team’s equipment truck — said the company will pay for transporting the supplies to the Eastern part of the state.
“Sometimes it’s not as easy as just writing a check or donating a case of water,” he said. “If you have a business and if you have an area of influence within your company that you can make a difference in another person’s life, that’s what it’s all about.”
Blanchard said she would like the donated supplies to be sent out Friday afternoon, but she said she’s unsure if that will happen because conditions are still changing in Robeson County.
“Right now, the river is still rising, you can’t even get there,” she said. “We want to make sure they are ready to receive those supplies.”
Steinbacher said the Athletics Department has a responsibility to help those in Eastern North Carolina who faced the worst damage from the hurricane.
“In a place like Chapel Hill — where we didn’t get hit nearly as badly as the rest of the state — I think it’s our duty to step up and help other residents in the state of North Carolina."
Any student or student organization is encouraged to donate. Accepted items include:
- Non-perishable food items
- Pop-top canned goods
- Diapers (baby and adult)
- Baby formula/food
- Baby wipes
- Clorox wipes
- Paper towels/products
- Cleaning supplies (brooms, cotton mops, pails/buckets, sponges, scrub brushes, garbage bags, rubber gloves)
- Personal hygiene items (toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, gel soap, bar soap, shampoo, deodorant, Band-Aids)
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.