Operation: Donation

Members of the Student Government Association and various clubs and organizations at Florida A&M University collected donations for students hit by Hurricane Katrina during the football game on Sept. 3.

Donations amounting in $10,175 were collected on behalf of the Operation Southern Hospitality Foundation.

A number of students showed their concern for students affected by Katrina, by helping to collect donations in orange and green buckets throughout the second quarter of the football game.

After a night of collection by the foundation, many students, parents and alumni were proud to see buckets and even trash bags filled with money for students affected by Katrina.

The foundation was created just days after Hurricane Katrina destroyed many lives in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Volunteers involved in the effort will also distribute food, hygienic items, clothing and other necessities to FAMU students who were affected by the hurricane.

Tavaris Ferguson, co-chair of the foundation, and representative of SGA and other organizations, met with members of FAMU’s alumni association before the game to collect donations and discuss the needs of victims affected by Katrina.

Among the many alumni that gave donations was Stephanie Clarke, the assistant secretary of the FAMU alumni association in Tallahassee.

“The whole concept of students helping students is very important. It could have easily been me, so whenever I am able to help others I do,” Clarke said.

Clarke said the alumni association will help victims affected in any possible way through the Red Cross or at a local level.

Jessica Larche, one of the volunteers, is a 20 year old junior political science student whose family resided in New Orleans, a city affected by the hurricane.

As one of the victims of the hurricane, Larche expressed to the alumni the importance of their donations.

“As a victim of Katrina, I am personally affected by this because I know many close people to me who have nothing and sadly I am one of them,” Larche said.

Ferguson, a 24-year-old senior pre-med student from Mobile, Ala. said he helped form the foundation because he wanted to help students.

“What we are doing is for a long term cause, which will help students continuously throughout their time here at FAMU,” Ferguson said.

Phillip Agnew, SGA vice president and chairman of the foundation, said a student database would be created to keep students who are in need of support on file.

“Many students may also be able to benefit from special university admissions and registration renumeration that will be available,” said Agnew, a 20-year-old junior business administration student from Chicago.

In an effort to spread information about the foundation to FAMU students, Agnew has also started a group on the popular Facebook website.

“This group is designed for Rattlers dedicated to helping people affected by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. It is also a forum for affected students to discuss their needs and concerns to us during this devastating time,” Agnew said.

On the website, Agnew said Interim President Castell V. Bryant has allowed the foundation to use “100 percent of the funds raised for students affected by Hurricane Katrina.”

“We also are in talks to have all funds donated to the American Red Cross by Florida A&M student organizations donated right back to our students that need it most,” Agnew said.

Ferguson said the foundation is committed to the cause for the long haul.

“This is just the beginning of our work to help students,” Ferguson said.

contact Christina Hordge at christinahordge@yahoo.com