Purchase College Community Responds to the Devastation in Communities Students Call Home
Briana Buttermark '15, and Valerie Hardt feel incredible pride for their Staten Island home, describing it as "the biggest small town in America." Standing behind a table in the lobby of Campus Center North asking passers-by for donations, they eagerly explain how Staten Island is like a microcosm of the country—promising a street there that resembles every hometown in America.
Both were grateful that Hurricane Sandy spared their homes. Feeling helpless, they channeled their good fortune into organizing a relief effort. Originally intended to benefit only Staten Island, the response has been so overwhelming they will now oversee donation deliveries to several affected areas, including New Jersey; Breezy Point, Queens; Brooklyn; and Long Beach, Long Island, to name a few.
The coordination has been swift and organized. What began in a lounge in the Big Haus dorm, soon expanded to a campus-wide community endeavor. Buttermark, a studio comp major and resident assistant (RA), and Hardt, the staff Residence Coordinator for the Big Haus, are amazed at how quickly the word spread.
Social media is playing a huge role. The women rely on it to discover not only donation centers, but to learn the specific needs in particular areas. They assure donors that the goods collected will not go to waste.
"We're learning for instance that clothes are no longer needed in Staten Island, so we are sending clothes to other locations," explains Buttermark. Also, to avoid seeing donations sit unused, she's only sending items to centers with the ability to sort and re-distribute them.
It's not just students who are participating. The staff of the Performing Arts Center, for instance, donated a trunk-full of blankets, jackets, and non-perishable food, while some faculty members have agreed to help deliver the donations.
"All the RA's have stepped up, and it's really heart-warming and humbling at how everyone is taking action and how much the entire Purchase community cares," says Hardt.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The items needed most and being collected today at Campus Center North:
Plastic forks, knives, spoons
Paper towels, mops, bleach
Prepared/pre-cooked foods (nothing that needs to be heated/cooked)
Additional collection dates and times will be announced as need grows.
To facilitate monetary donations, Buttermark and Hardt set up computers and iPads to link donors directly to organizations who are accepting them online. (See links below.)
To assist NJ residents:
To assist Staten Island residents:
To assist Brooklyn residents:
To assist Breezy Point, Queens residents:
To assist Long Island residents: