High school students ‘adopt’ city devasted by Harvey

Nothing is more devastating than losing everything you’ve worked years to accomplish.  Such is the experience of thousands of Texans after Hurricane Harvey. The recovery process is underway in South Texas after the massive storm left death, destruction and flooding in its wake.   People around the world are helping with the recovery. The broadcast media shows the devastation in big cities, but what about the smaller communities?

Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) chose a unique way to help. It has adopted the town of Mont Belvieu, located between Houston and Beaumont. RCHS adopted this community because they received information from the staff that the residents are in need. Fearing that Mont Belvieu would be overlooked, RCHS sprang into action to help them recover from the storm.

“In a disaster like this there’s a lot of people in need and Houston is such a large city with so many people – Houston will get all of the attention.

“We wanted to start thinking about the little communities and the small towns too, because they are suffering just as badly,” said Mike Wright of Student Services.

The only hope for a small community is to reach out to someone who will get the word out. RCHS started the process of giving in a structured fashion.

“We have assigned each class specific items to bring based on the need of the community. We want to keep the process as smooth as possible for the students and provide the community with quality things they need,” said Wright. Like other communities, people there are throwing away ruined items and trying to figure out how they will replace them.

“When people start to forget about the disaster and go back to regular life, we will continue to give to the Mont Belvieu community as an ongoing event,” said Wright. The first fully loaded truck was delivered Sept. 8, with more deliveries to come.

“Our goal is to hopefully return to Mont Belvieu with two or more trucks fully loaded with items for the community each time we return,” said Wright.

While the items were being loaded Warisha Sadiq, an RCHS junior, noticed the box of feminine supplies was empty. Sadiq went to her professor and asked if they could start collecting women’s feminine hygiene products and she was directed to speak with the principal of the RCHS, Craig Hinkle.

When Sadiq spoke with Hinkle, he advised her to focus on the items listed. Sadiq then took the initiative and began to collect donations from the junior and senior classes. Then they went to Sam’s Club and purchased huge boxes of feminine products.

“It made me feel so good to help people in need. Everyone likes to know they have helped someone,” said Sadiq.

Feminine hygiene products and cleaning supplies are among the most important things needed at this time, although donations of all kinds will be accepted all year. Those who would like to donate can bring items to Kiowa Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information call the RCHS office at 972-761-6888.