By Emily Mahan
Many students experienced hurricane damage to their homes.
Sophomore Kirsten DeSpain’s home, which is located north of Houston’s city limits, was flooded.
“I think that the majority of relief efforts are focused in Central Houston, but what people don’t realize is that other communities lost their homes, and it’s important to remember those towns and cities as well.”
Many other students like DeSpain live outside of Houston’s city limits in smaller communities that saw the effects of the hurricane.
However, much of the media coverage has been on the impact inside the city.
Smaller cities that saw massive flooding include Lake Jackson, Alvin, and Freeport, which are located in Brazoria County.
Evacuees of this county were sent to Bell County on buses when the flooding reached dangerous levels.
Many students have volunteered to assist these evacuees who arrived in Belton, Killeen, Temple and Harker Heights.
Students donated clothing, food, toiletries, and a variety of other items to Vista Community Church, who collected donations for the evacuees.
In addition to dropping off donations, many students volunteered to help sort through and organize these items throughout the week after the hurricane.
Some students volunteered to spend time with and prepare meals for the evacuees at local churches. UMHB junior Kelly Taylor spent time with the children staying at First Baptist Church Belton, which served as a temporary home for refugees.
“Getting to play with these kids who have already lost so much and…just being able to distract them and love on them was really cool.”
She developed a special bond with two little girls in particular, and enjoyed playing games with them throughout the week.
“One of them was old enough to understand what was going on, but the other was too young.
She was just upset that she had to wear an identification bracelet.”
Taylor said that she is glad that she volunteered with the evacuees, because it gave her a chance to comfort children who had lost everything they owned.
UMHB has offered to help students who were affected by the storm.
Students requiring additional financial support because of the hurricane are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office in order to discuss their situation.
In addition, the school has resources available for students who need extra academic support, prayer or counseling.