Samford University is coordinating efforts to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in a number of ways. Various volunteer initiatives are underway or in the planning stage, and Samford students, faculty and staff are taking part.
"All of us are shocked by the devastation from Hurricane Katrina," said Samford President Thomas E. Corts. "Almost all of the Samford family has been affected by this in some way, and some students, parents and alumni have been directly affected by the loss of homes and other resources."
The Samford community is responding in many ways, Dr. Corts noted. "Foremost, we continue to remember everyone affected by the hurricane in our thoughts and prayers," he said. "Our staff and faculty are ministering directly to campus students from the areas devastated. We are making arrangements for students from New Orleans area universities to study at Samford for the fall semester as their needs may dictate. Our food service operator has agreed to accommodate some of the families that will be temporarily transitioning to metro Birmingham."
Dr. Corts noted that the Samford student ministries office is coordinating other relief efforts with the American Red Cross, Baptist disaster relief ministries and other organizations. Samford students, employees, alumni, parents and friends can find updates on these efforts and ways to be personally involved at www.samford.edu.
"May the thoughts and prayers of the Samford community be a source of comfort and strength for all of those affected by this disaster, directly or indirectly," said Dr. Corts. "We remain alert to ways we might be of help."
Dr. Jim Barnette, minister to the University, said several initiatives are underway that Samford people could join. They include:
- FUND-RAISING. Money is critical at this point. Any person or group interested in contributing should contact Frank Parsons, Samford director of Greek life and student organizations. Dr. Parsons is working with Compass Bank, which is matching any funds raised.
- FALL BREAK RELIEF TRIP. Samford Student Ministries and other organizations are partnering to coordinate a trip to Mississippi and/or Louisiana between October 21-25. A meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. in Reid Chapel for people or groups interested. For information, contact April Robinson, Samford director of student ministries.
- LOCAL VOLUNTEERS. The Red Cross needs volunteers to help at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC); also, a feeding unit has been established by the Red Cross behind Boutwell Auditorium, and the Birmingham Baptist Association is helping supply volunteers. Angulus Wilson, Samford associate director of campus outreach, is spearheading this initiative.
- BAYOU La BATRE. The Alabama Highway Patrol advises that individuals NOT attempt to travel to Mississippi or Louisiana at this point. However, Volunteers of America (VOA) and the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are working together to offer relief in the Bayou La Batre area of west Mobile County. People are needed to help pack and distribute food and to help in other ways. At this point, Samford does not have a group organized to go, but anyone interested can call the VOA representative Margaret Coley.
- LOCAL HELP MINISTRIES. Lynette Sandley, Samford director of service learning, will be working with Samford communication arts students to help M-Power Ministries in Birmingham, which offers free medical care, information resources and counseling services. Students also may volunteer to help refugees at the BJCC through the Local Volunteers initiative coordinated by Angulus Wilson.
- BLOOD DONATIONS. Blood donations are needed, and a Samford blood drive is scheduled on campus next Tuesday, September 6.
- OTHER RELIEF EFFORTS. Also at Samford, pharmacy professors Michael Hogue and Roger Lander are coordinating relief response efforts of McWhorter School of Pharmacy faculty related to local needs of the Jefferson County Department of Health. Cumberland School of Law has admitted law students from Tulane University and Loyola University of New Orleans as transient students for the fall semester, with no tuition charge to these students because they already had paid fall semester tuition at their respective schools.