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In Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath, RWU Cares Raises Thousands for Relief Efforts

In addition to $7,000 in funds, committee works with students, faculty and staff to organize food, clothing and supply deliveries to affected regions in New York and New Jersey
Photo by: Scott Yonan

After months of fundraising efforts that began in the wake of Hurricane Sandy last October, the RWU Cares committee had secured $7,000 in donations from the Roger Williams community and donated the funds to the New York City and Jersey Shore chapters of the American Red Cross.

Funds donated by students, faculty and staff – both personal donations forwarded to the Feinstein Center and dollars raised through several creative fundraising events – totaled $3,500. As promised following the Hurricane, the President’s Cabinet matched every dollar raised, doubling the donation.

A number of on-campus events and outreach efforts contributed to the total, starting with last November’s Gospel Fest – hosted by the School of Law, the Music Department and the Intercultural Center’s Spiritual Life program – which raised $565.

Student-driven efforts were led by sophomore Kim Sanders of Manasquan, N.J., and junior Teresa Polly from Massapequa, N.Y. Rice Krispie treat, slushy and grilled cheese fundraisers along with donation jugs at cash operation points around campus raised more than $1,200. And senior Rebecca Quigley of Tewksbury, Mass., created and produced a special print honoring Hurricane Sandy survivors and volunteers, which yielded more than $300 in donations.

Because of the University’s driving-distance proximity to the devastated areas, the RWU community also focused on collecting materials to help in the recovery. After a larger-than-expected turnout of donations – the lawn near the Feinstein and Career Center building was covered with food, clothing, bedding and other items – Scott Yonan in the Student Affairs division worked with Cardi’s Furniture to get the first batch delivered to New York and New Jersey.

“I thought we’d fill my SUV, but it soon became apparent that my Toyota RAV4 was too small!” Yonan says. “I called Cardi’s, which I knew was making a trip, and they came to RWU to pick up our donations in a box truck. We would not have gotten the donation there without their help.”

With Yonan’s assistance, student Christopher Hoffman of Oyster Bay, N.Y., ran “Dress Sandy,” a successful campaign in December that collected new and gently used winter clothing. Kerry Hausdorf, head women’s lacrosse coach and a Queens, N.Y., native, personally drove the donations to a community center in her hometown for distribution.

The final hurricane relief event, held on the fundraising deadline of February 15, was an art sale that raised $1,000. This sale, like the one organized in 2010 to benefit Haiti earthquake relief efforts, featured pieces donated by local professional and amateur artists as well as RWU faculty and students. 

Co-chaired by KC Ferrara and Scott Yonan, the RWU Cares committee is a standing committee of faculty, staff and students dedicated to responding to disasters in the U.S. and worldwide.