Kent, Ravenna come together for Irma supply drive

Devon Recktenwald

Hoping to provide aid to Hurricane Irma victims, Kent State is partnering with organizations in Kent and Ravenna for the Kent State University and Community Partners Hurricane Relief Supply Drive spanning Oct. 1 through Oct. 20.

Donated supplies will go to Florida families affected by Hurricane Irma.

Donation items needed:

  • Adult and children’s wipes

  • Diapers

  • Incontinence products 

  • Paper towels and facial tissues

  • Paper plates and plastic cutlery

  • New women’s, men’s, children’s underwear (S, M, L, XL)

  • New sweatsuits (S, M, L, XL)

Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, the executive director of employee engagement, climate and outreach in Kent State’s Divison of Human Resources, heads the supply drive.

“It (supply drive) came as a result of requests from employees who wanted to assist areas impacted by the hurricane,” Hayes-Nelson said.

At this point, the final cost of damages ranges from an estimated $50 billion, according to Bloomberg, and $100 billion, according to AccuWeather. Irma, which wreaked havoc from Aug. 30 to Sept. 16, is still too recent for officials to declare a total damage estimate.

“The goal is to fill a 43-foot trailer with specified goods through the collaborative effort of university employees, students and nonprofit and faith-based organizations in the Kent and Ravenna community,” Hayes-Nelson said.

Those interested in donating can drop off items at the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, the Williamson House, the Kent State Student Center, the Kent State Ice Arena, the Center for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, the Student Multicultural Center, the Recreation and Wellness Center, and Heer and Oscar Ritchie halls.

“I think that seeing the building of the community for a common cause is nice to see,” Hayes-Nelson said. “We didn’t have to convince anyone, everyone wanted to help.”

Contributors from Kent State include: University Facilities Management, the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement, the Center for Student Involvement and finally, Government and Community Relations, specifically the office for economic development and community engagement.

External participants include: the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, Family and Community Services, Inc. in Kent, Ravenna Chamber of Commerce, InterChez Logistics Systems, Inc., PARTA, IdeaBase, Kent Interfaith Alliance members, International Paper and Fab Express.

Hayes-Nelson said a clearly identified truck trailer staged near the intersection of Willow Street and Main Street will advertise the supply drive and offer information, but items are not to be dropped off there.

The drive concludes with Super Service Saturday Oct. 21, where items will be moved to a local warehouse owned by Sharlene Chesnes, a Kent State alumna and owner of InterChez Logistics Systems, Inc.

Student volunteers from Kent State will sort and palletize items before the shipment is sent out to Irma-affected communities.

Devon Recktenwald is the recruiting and retention reporter. Contact her at [email protected].