Elon responds to Hurricane Florence

The Elon community is ready to mobilize in response to the many disaster recovery efforts under way in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Read this message from Student Life Vice President Jon Dooley.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Many of you have inquired how to be involved in the recovery effort for the devastation in our region caused by Hurricane Florence. A fall 2017 blog post from the national Break Away organization (of which our Elon Alternative Breaks are a part) provides some helpful guidance. It is important to keep in mind that there are two stages, generally speaking, to be aware of after a natural disaster: 1) response and relief and 2) recovery. Response and relief is the immediate work to minimize any harm or hazard caused by the disaster.  Recovery includes returning a community to the pre-disaster state of normalcy, or better – a sense of revitalization for all.

The communities that have been affected by this storm are still in the response and relief phase which may take weeks or months and requires skilled and trained personnel to address immediate health and safety of people in the affected areas. The areas that have been most severely affected are not prepared to receive unskilled volunteer assistance at this time. However, there are things that we as an Elon community can do to assist with the initial response.

Financial Support

Financial contributions to relief organizations that specialize in assistance for immediate relief can be one of the best ways to assist those in need. We recommend visiting the website of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters. The site provides a list of agencies involved in relief and recovery efforts, including donation links for those groups. Please be aware of fraud and scams related to disaster relief efforts – the best way to donate is to visit an organization’s website directly. Gifts to the Elon University Chaplain’s Discretionary Fund are used to support those in our Elon community who are adversely affected by tragic circumstances such as these.

Blood Donations

A third of the North Carolina is in a state of emergency, so blood donations are needed since the usual supply is under strain to meet the demand. People can give blood at one of several nearby American Red Cross blood drives in the coming days.

Food, Personal Hygiene, Cleaning Supplies, and Paper Goods Donations

Campus Kitchen at Elon University is responding to the need for collecting these items for pantries at Allied Churches of Alamance County and the Salvation Army of Alamance County.  These two local organizations are currently serving and sheltering individuals who evacuated from eastern North Carolina and have been stretched in their capacity to do so. People currently experiencing homelessness have also come to the Allied Churches seeking shelter from the effects of the storm. 

Below is a list of what our community partners have identified as their most urgent needs to help those affected. These items can be dropped off at the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement (Moseley Center 230) and they will deliver them on behalf of the Elon University community to both Allied Churches and the Salvation Army.

Food items

  • Soups and chili
  • Beans (lima, baked, pinto, etc.)
  • Macaroni and cheese, pasta and sauce
  • Canned vegetable and fruit
  • Protein bars
  • Peanut butter
  • Dry cereal/granola
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned meats – tuna, Vienna sausages, SPAM, etc.
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • Formula for infants
  • Baby food/snacks
  • Bottled water 

Hygiene Items

  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash
  • Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Soap, shampoo, conditioners, body wash
  • Deodorant, feminine hygiene products
  • First aid kit supplies

Future Response

Once we move into the recovery phase of disaster relief, the Kernodle Center will be organizing service opportunities to support the work of nonprofit organizations in North Carolina.  In cooperation with the North Carolina Campus Compact, Elon is participating in a statewide, coordinated effort with our colleagues at other colleges and universities to determine how we can be serve the communities in need.  University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville State University, East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina Wilmington will be part of the coalition to address the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.   The Kernodle Center will continue to update the Elon University community on volunteer opportunities once we are invited into these communities.  As a reminder, these hands-on volunteer opportunities may come after some time has passed and the communities are ready to receive this type of assistance.

If you have questions about how you can help with Elon’s support of the communities affected by Hurricane Florence, please contact Mary Morrison, Assistant Dean of Campus Life and Director of the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement at mmorrison4@elon.edu or 336-278-7252.

Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life