(COVINGTON, La.) The SPS HOSA chapter is asking the St. Paul’s community to rally to help the people and pets who have been victims of Hurricane Harvey through a food and supply drive that will occur through Sept. 14 on campus. The supplies collected will go to the St. Tammany Humane Society and the Northshore Food Bank, who will then distribute the supplies to Harvey victims.
The details and supplies list for the drive can be viewed here, and donations can be dropped off in classrooms or in bins in the lobby of LaSalle Hall or outside of the attendance office in the Main School Building.
The St. Tammany Humane Society is shipping much-needed animal care supplies to Texas to help animal shelters in the area accommodate the flood of displaced animals. Volunteers and staff, such as the Humane Society’s Director of Development Susie Kaznowitz, are working to help.
“In the next coming weeks, maybe even as far as months, we will create transports to send the supplies to Texas,” Kaznowitz said.”We just feel really lucky to have the capacity and to have the support and to have the volunteer assistance to provide help for others. Hands down, we would do it every time. As long as we have the support, we can do it. Every time there’s something that happens, you always see the resilience of humans and how everyone can come together. If there’s one thing about Louisiana, when a disaster hits we support everyone, and we are resilient. It’s really awesome to be able to help a different state which helped us so much during Katrina. It’s cool to see how people help each other and how the chaos of all the dogs somehow works out. It’s crazy, and they don’t even know what’s going on. It’s important to help each other. I think that’s the most important thing.”
Additionally, the Humane Society is accepting between 50 and 100 dogs from an animal shelter in Montgomery County, which is north of Houston. This will allow the Texas shelter to take in more refugee animals.
Food donations brought to the Northshore Food Bank will then be brought to Second Harvest of New Orleans, a Louisiana organization which specializes in distributing food to those in need. Second Harvest is distributing the food to effected areas in Louisiana, such as Lake Charles and Benton, and will bring shipments of food into Texas when it is safe to do so. Northshore Food Bank development director Jamie Andrepont stressed the importance of the drive.
“I think the importance is twofold,” Andrepont said. “I think whenever anybody goes through a natural disaster like this, it’s very important for people to know that other people care about them and they want to help them out. The other thing is it’s really nice to have resources. We live in a really amazingly generous community that likes to help others out; and since we have the resources, we want to provide those to those that don’t.”
So far, these recovery efforts have proven to be successful.
“So far it’s been amazing,” Andrepont said. “Yesterday we shipped off 3,000 pounds. It’s been at least 3,000 pounds collected today, so in one day we were able to double what we had already received since collecting, and I would say that as long as all of the supplies in our community are getting to those in need, it’s going to be extremely effective. We’re just one collection site for Second Harvest, so I’m going to imagine that there’s going to be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people that they are going to be serving.”
In instances such as these, St. Paul’s effort has a direct impact on the recovery efforts.
“Lots of folks ask how well the Northshore Food Bank is doing, and we’re actually just doing the community’s work. It’s not us that’s impacting families, individuals and those in need, it’s you,” Andrepont said. “It’s Saint Paul’s, it’s the local churches, it’s members in our community coming and dropping off donations. You guys are the ones who are actually serving people in need, so thank you.”
The St. Paul’s drive is part of a multi-school effort including St. Scholastica Academy, Archbishop Hannan High School and Pope John Paul High School. The drive on campus was organized by the administration, along with HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) members Christian Wilson, Paul Stolin and Jakob Massey.
“I saw a drive like this last year, the drive for the flooding, and I thought it was really effective, so I wanted to do a larger drive this year to help the people in Houston,” Stolin said. “A lot of people there need the materials, because a lot of it was swept away.”
“We saw a need to help people, so we just took that initiative,” Wilson echoed.