Harvey relief efforts pour in from football equipment staff members



The football team pitched in with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by donating equipment.

Nick France

Not since Katrina have the American coasts seen a storm with the intensity and ferocity of Hurricane Harvey.

The Category 4 storm had a diameter of 280 miles and winds of 130 miles per hour when it first made landfall. Because it left an estimated $190 Billion in damages, the road to recovery will be long and difficult for those affected. 

This difficulty is only compounded by extensive flooding, caused by the record-breaking 51 inches of rain that fell in the state of Texas. No major city was hit harder than Houston, which lay directly in the path of the storm.

As it always does when tragedy strikes, the American public quickly came together behind the #HoustonStrong movement. A star-studded telethon headlined by Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Leo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and more raised $44 million for relief efforts.

Former owner of the Houston Rockets, Leslie Alexander, donated $10 million to the city’s official relief fund. Donations poured in from across the globe to the Houston Flood Relief Fund, run by NFL star JJ Watt, with donations totaling over $35 million. 

When a disaster as great as this one strikes, the aftermath affects far more than the damaged areas. The effects of Harvey reverberated through our very own community. For starters, the city of Houston stands as an important place in Villanova history. 

It was barely over a year ago that Kris Jenkins stood in Houston’s NRG Stadium and knocked down a 24-footer to give the Wildcats their second national championship. 

Not only this, but there are also many members of our community were personally affected by Hurricane Harvey. Freshman Brittney Williams, a Houston native, shared with us that her grandfather’s house, an older building, received a lot of damage.

The inside of the home is completely destroyed, and the family has lost albums of photos and other possessions. While repair efforts have begun on the old home, her grandfather has been staying in her childhood bedroom. No matter the extent of the repairs, there are just some things that can not be repaired like the loss of these old familial treasures. 

However, this does not mean relief efforts are useless.

Houston-native Thomas Dorrance says that “any contribution will do major things for the community no matter if it is money, food, clothing—everything donated is going to somebody that needs it.”

Money donated to the JJ Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund will go towards rebuilding homes, re-opening and improving schools, among many other causes. No matter the size of the donation or contribution made, every little bit helps. 

In the face of this tragedy, the University quickly turned to two of its three core values—Unitas and Caritas. Various GoFundMe pages were posted to the University’s social medias, and multiple donation tables were set up by The Oreo in the days following Harvey.

For example, a GoFundMe run by the @NovaNationer account on Instagram raised money ($1,415 at the time of this writing) for Catholic Charities U.S.A. This effort led by faculty members, alumni and current VU students is just one of many ways that people on campus came together to help those in need. To donate to this GoFundMe, visit @NovaNationer on Instagram.

In addition, the football team made a sizable donation to relief efforts. The head coach of the Houston Cougars, Kelvin Sampson, sent out a tweet calling for athletic departments across the country to send clothing to Houston.

The Wildcats were one of countless football teams from across the country that fulfilled this request. The football equipment staff worked for days straight just packing boxes full of old equipment and team apparel. 

While it will take a long time for Houston and surrounding areas to recover fully, every single donation helps. You, too, can help by donating to any of the University relief efforts or by donating online to local charities in Houston.