Over the month of September, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now Maria, struck the United States, killing over a hundred people and causing billions of dollars in damage across multiple states. Even though these disasters may be happening thousands of miles away, they still have a local impact.
Dan Finkelstein, a graduate of ‘93 from North and a resident of Fort Lauderdale, FL, was forced to evacuate before Irma arrived in his community.
“It’s rough right now. I left my team of pet sitters with supplies. My team didn’t know what to do with all the supplies I gave them, they were confused, and I explained that it’s to keep them alive without having to deal with FEMA’s water lines and food lines. Even though the stores stopped selling water, they had no batteries, there’s no gas. I still gave them several gas containers. I gave them a month worth of water. And lots of food that wasn’t very good but food that I could get them”, said Finkelstein.
Evacuation out of Florida quickly became difficult for those affected, as both tickets and utilities such as gasoline and power grew scarce.
“After all plane rides were sold out during Hurricane Irma, you couldn’t get a train ticket, you couldn’t get anything. And it’s not safe to drive out,” said Finkelstein. “There’s no gas, there’s no places to stay, so I was lucky that after all tickets were gone, my parents found me, somehow, the last ticket out. So, ironically, I went from Florida to Louisiana and then to Houston, TX of all places. And now I’m here in St. Louis.”
Once news of the hurricanes in Texas and Florida broke, the Parkway community was quick to lend a helping hand and provide relief for those affected. This was evident during the Sept. 1 varsity football game against U-City. North, in addition to the other three Parkway high schools, donated clothes and various supplies during the game to be given to Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims.
“The assistant athletic director of Parkway West, Annie [Wayland] was the one who spearheaded [the relief effort]. She has a friend that does charitable contributions when there are natural emergencies like hurricanes, so she got those people together and said, ‘Hey, let’s try to do this.’ It was basically an overnight thing,” said athletic director Bart Prosser.
By the end of the night, all four high schools had filled up almost four trailers full of food, supplies, and goods to take down there. Within 24 hours, the supplies that were donated were already down in Houston.
“I think there was a huge turnout. I didn’t count the money myself, but I saw how filled the jar was, and we got stacks and stacks of items. I’m happy with what our school accomplished, but we’re not done yet. We’re still gonna start collecting again during lunches. We have plans to do donations for other hurricanes,” said junior Katherine Larson, Social Justice Action Team member.
by Roshae Hemmings, Editor-in-Chief; Ijeoma Nkenchor, Assistant Editor-in-Chief; Tanner Boyd, staff writer