Hurricane help: Civic Engagement holds donation drive, community dinner

The Cornell College Office of Civic Engagement is rallying behind hurricane victims by holding a donation drive and community dinner.

Students involved in this project wanted to find a way to help, especially because some have family members who’ve been impacted by the storms.

“I was inspired to do something because my close family and friends were severely affected by Hurricane Irma, and they are going to be hit by another Category 5 hurricane, Maria, on Wednesday,” said Ici Collier ’19, who is from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. “It is very emotional for me because I cannot be back home to help them. I feel obligated to help from here and do whatever I can do to send as many things back home as possible.”

Organizers want to get both the Cornell and Mount Vernon communities involved in the donation drive. The Civic Engagement Office is collaborating directly with organizations that are already at work in Texas, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and the Caribbean, such as The Texas Diaper Bank, Matthew 25 Ministries, and Babycycle Diaper Bank in Florida. Students, faculty, and staff can find donation boxes in residence halls, the Civic Engagement Office, and the Thomas Commons starting on Wednesday, Sept. 20, until Thursday, Sept. 28.

In addition to the on campus drive, student volunteers will go door-to-door in Mount Vernon to distribute fliers on Sunday, Sept. 24. A donation location will be set up at the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Visitor’s Center at 311 1st St. NW in Mount Vernon. The students will stop by those homes at the end of the drive on Thursday, Sept. 28, to collect any donations—beginning around 2 p.m.

“This way, if anyone wants to contribute but is unable to deliver to campus or a location in town, they can just leave the donation on their porch, and our volunteers will collect the donations,” said Coordinator of Civic Engagement Samantha Hebel. “We really wanted this to be a combined effort between campus and community because we know that the desire to help extends beyond our campus community.”

Students are also organizing a Community Dinner and Dialogue to create awareness. It will be held Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 5-7:30 p.m. It will be a drop-in event in Ringer Dining Hall inside the Thomas Commons with no formal presentation. The space is open to anyone who was impacted by the hurricanes or anyone who wants to learn more about what has been happening.

“We hope the space provides support for those affected, education for the entire community, and space for a larger dialogue about all natural disasters,” Hebel said.

Students will collect all donations on Thursday, Sept. 28. Those items will be sent to the organizations working with hurricane victims for distribution.

Requested Items for Collection:

  • Body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Sanitary napkins/tampons
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Cleaner
  • Latex gloves
  • Laundry detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Powdered bleach
  • Protective eyewear
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scrub brushes
  • Sponges
  • Toilet paper
  • Work gloves
  • Work masks
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Bandages
  • First aid kits
  • First aid tape
  • Gauze
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baby food (unopened)
  • Baby or children’s blankets (new)
  • Baby shampoo and wash
  • Baby wipes
  • Diaper bags (new or gently used)
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Diapers
  • Formula
  • Baby or children’s clothing (new, particularly boys)
  • Pull-ups
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights with batteries
  • New socks
  • New, packaged underwear for kids, men, and women (Hanes and Fruit of the Loom only)
  • Towels
  • Washcloths

People can donate monetarily online by visiting