NEWS — September 26, 2017 at 6:15 am

HOSA helps hurricane victims

Donated water and nonperishable food in Ray Posada's classroom 422.
Donated water and nonperishables in Ray Posada’s classroom 934. Photo by Suzanna Barna

In the evening of Aug. 19, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 130 mph. The hurricane diminished to Category 1 by Saturday at noon, although the aftermath left the state in disaster. From catastrophic floods to massive wind damage, areas across Texas, most notably in the greater Houston region, have suffered the hurricane’s wrath and will continue to for months to come.

Homes and livelihoods have been devastated by flooding, leaving thousands homeless and distraught. After watching the continuous reel of news reports on the damage, flooding and deaths, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Treasurer Sarah Fishkin decided to help the victims of Harvey in any way possible.

“I saw all the victims and I just like felt like I had to help. It’s not hard as long as you have the right people helping,” Fishkin said.

Consulting Guidance Counselor Veronica Ziccardi, Fishkin brainstormed outlets to support the relief efforts. After exploring various options, she settled on a supplies and food drive with Food For The Poor.

Food For The Poor is a local nonprofit that’s mission is “to link the church of the First World with the church of the Third World in a manner that helps both the materially poor and the poor in spirit.” Mainly focused on aiding the poor of the Caribbean Islands and Latin America, Food For The Poor utilizes 95.6 percent of its donation money towards service programs. With its honorable record, Fishkin decided to facilitate the donation drive with them.

Fishkin took the proposal to her fellow HOSA officers who eagerly agreed to the drive.

“Sarah definitely took the initiative saying ‘hey, we’re a health group; we can provide health services in our way,’ and organizing this whole thing,” HOSA President Isabella Pfeiffer said.

After gaining approval from the school, HOSA sought out teachers to host the donation drop-off locations. These teachers include Ashley Sampson in Room 1303, Ray Posada in Room 422, Gregory Pittman in Room 937, Lori Reich in Room 934 and Veronica Ziccardi in Main Guidance.

In addition to announcing the drive on the intercom, other clubs, such as Key Club, National Honor Society (NHS), DECA and Interact Club, have also reached out to their members to donate what they can.

“We decided to help and donate to the victims of the hurricane because it is a nice gesture that can help someone who has lost a lot recently,” Interact Club President Nicole Smith said.

The supplies accepted for donation ranges from canned foods to baby diapers. All donations are greatly appreciated.

“It’s not about me; it’s about the supplies,” Fishkin said.

Since Hurricane Harvey, three other hurricanes–Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria–have caused widespread destruction in the Caribbean Islands and the Southeast United States. 

Originally, the donation drive ended Sept. 22, but, due to the recent string of hurricanes, the drive will extend until the end of October.

Also due the hurricanes, Food For The Poor has shifted its focus from Hurricane Harvey to providing food and supplies for the Florida Keys and Caribbean Islands—the greatest victims of the near consecutive storms.

No matter the destination, it is HOSA’s hope that the donated goods will help amend the tragedies caused by the catastrophic natural disasters that have plagued these areas in the past months.

Suzanna Barna

Suzanna Barna is a Senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She enjoys connecting with others and volunteers at Aston Gardens in Parkland, an elderly community. Additionally, Suzanna works at a local Kumon learning center. At school, she actively participates in Key Club as an Editor and in National Honors Society as the Historian.

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