After Hurricane Florence hit the Carolina coast last month, Elon University students are searching for ways to help victims. Director of the Kernodle Center for Service Learning Mary Morrison organized a group of volunteers to travel to Fayetteville, North Carolina.
As a part of Elon Volunteers, this group of students, faculty and staff will be partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank.
This would not have been possible without the support the Center received during parents weekend.
"They provided about $3,700 to help pay for gas, food, you know, transportation, that kind of thing," Morrison said. "That was generous because we really didn't have funds to help get people to the effected areas. So that was terrific."
Elon Volunteers is looking for anyone passionate about service to join them. Elon senior Audrey Funk is one of those students. After experiencing fear from the hurricane, she is ready to help.
"We're all from different states, but North Carolina is our home right now, and it's important to help in any way that we can," Funk said.
Morrison, who has worked in higher education for 20 years, said she values community engagement and hopes students will learn lessons they can take back to their home communities.
"For me, the exciting thing is to see students discover this work; to get out in the community and meet people that they would never meet and hear people's stories that they would never hear," Morrison said. "To see the excitement that they have coming back and say, 'I got more from that than I gave. I learned more from that experience than I contributed.' That's really what is exciting to me."
Even though Elon wasn't hit directly by the storm, both Funk and Morrison say it is important that Florence relief is an ongoing effort.
"I think if there is anyway to help, we have access and we can. And, since Elon is coordinating different trips, I think it’s the responsibility of students here to reach out and help if they can," Funk said.
"We're not just in this for the short term. This isn't going to be a one and done," Morrison said. "We're making a commitment to these communities to continue to work with them at addressing the needs that they have identified."
Elon Volunteers is scheduled to go to Fayetteville on Oct. 11, 20 and 27. Morrison is currently working on coordinating dates for future trips in December.