Denton and UNT come together to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief

Denton and UNT come together to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief

Denton and UNT come together to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief
September 06
16:10 2017

As Hurricane Harvey hit the southeast region of Texas Friday, Aug. 25, Denton locals helped raise and collect donations for the victims. Harvey is recorded as the most extreme rain point in U.S. history, according to the Washington Post.

From a report on Sept. 1, 27 trillion gallons of rain has fallen from Hurricane Harvey, according to Patch, a community-specific news network. There have been 258 shelters with over 42,000 victims, set up all throughout the state of Texas, including the Dallas area, for evacuees to stay.  

Mechanical and energy engineer senior at UNT, Amy Amaon left to Rockport, Texas early Thursday, Aug. 31 morning to visit her home and to check up on her animals stationed there. Before leaving for Rockport, where the Hurricane first touched down, Amaon started a relief drive immediately after she heard the news of Hurricane Harvey hitting her hometown.

“I told my boss I wanted to do this drive on campus,” Amaon said. “I know a lot of people are probably going to want to help.”

Soon after Amaon got in touch with a student organization, the UNT Country Western Dance Club, which she is a member of. They started the “Relief for Rockport” drive.

They used technology and social media as tools to spread their message. Amaon sent out emails, facebook and text messages to everyone she knew and made flyers with a phone application.

Relief for Rockport received about 30 bags of cat and dog food, bottled water, school supplies, clean up equipment and food.  Amaon sent out messages to people affected by Harvey and personally visited each person to send them what they requested whether it was food for their pets or bottled water.

Data collected from CoreLogic, a property analytics firm, said they predict anywhere between $25 billion to $37 billion worth of damages across southeast Texas. They also estimated 70 percent of these damages will not be covered by insurance because many homes are not covered by rain or flood waters damages.

Emergency management and disaster science assistant professor Mary Nelan said if a person wants to help storm victims they should send cash money donations. These are good for people to buy things such as water and food.

“Money helps the local economy,” Nelan said. “You can send gift cards from stores like Walmart and the Home Depot if you are hesitant about donating. Another alternative is going to a smaller organization you can trust.”

Big businesses, including Apple and Amazon, together have donated around $157 million, according to CNN Money. Athletes and celebrity figures have raised millions too, many joining Houston Texan J.J. Watt’s fundraiser which has reached $17 million so far.

The City of Denton sent down 17 firefighters to assist with recovery efforts. As of Aug. 31, they were located in Vidor, TX and had rescued approximately 2,000 people and 300 dogs, according to a city press release.

Located inside the University Union there are boxes designed for donations for the victims coming to Dallas from the South Texas area. The UNT offices are not involved with the donation collection.

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, Chief Executive Officer Craig Pettigrew of Upventur, a Denton-based social start-up of outdoor enthusiasts, went down to Houston with his boat to help people in need of assistance. So far, at least 50 people have died from the storm and the death tolls keep rising, according to the New York Times.

Pettigrew got in contact with friends, business partners and companies via email Monday, Aug. 31 asking if they could donate to their office in Denton. He had given people the options of money, clothes, water, etc. Pettigrew and a couple of others from Upventur took the donations they received down to Houston.

“I gave it [the donations] to Red Cross…we are still collecting,” Pettigrew said. “I plan on going back in a week of two to work with hands on work.”

Featured Image: Engineering senior Amy Amaon’s car after receiving donations from a local feed store. Amon collected donations for her hometown of Rockport, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Madison Gore

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Jackie Guerrero

Jackie Guerrero

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