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Students contribute to hurricane relief efforts

Collections+sit+in+Whitman%27s+main+hallway.+After+Hurricane+Harvey%2C+many+Whitman+students+collected+funds+and+items+for+victims.+Photo+by+Annabelle+Gordon.
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Students contribute to hurricane relief efforts

Collections sit in Whitman's main hallway. After Hurricane Harvey, many Whitman students collected funds and items for victims. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

Collections sit in Whitman's main hallway. After Hurricane Harvey, many Whitman students collected funds and items for victims. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

Collections sit in Whitman's main hallway. After Hurricane Harvey, many Whitman students collected funds and items for victims. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

Collections sit in Whitman's main hallway. After Hurricane Harvey, many Whitman students collected funds and items for victims. Photo by Annabelle Gordon.

By Jessica Buxbaum

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Several students are raising funds to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, a Category 3 storm which struck Houston Aug. 25, and Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm which struck Florida Sept. 10. The two storms left a total of over 150 people dead, newspapers reported.

Heal Victims of Harvey

Senior Abbi Audas and freshman Andrew Audas are collecting toiletries and first-aid items for their donation project, Heal Victims of Harvey. The siblings will ship all donations in backpacks stocked to provide for a family of four.

The Audas’ executed a similar project in the wake of 2011’s Hurricane Sandy.

“Our parents always told us that when something like this happens, to just get involved and help the people when you can when they’re in need,” Andrew said. “So, we were inspired when we saw on the news how badly Hurricane Harvey had affected the cities in Texas.”

So far, Abbi and Andrew have collected around 100 bags.

Community members can drop off items at Whitman, Pyle and the Audas’ home address, or they can buy items online through the Audas’ Amazon wishlist.

Red Cross Fundraiser

Sophomore Maddie Menkes is collecting online monetary donations that will directly fund Red Cross efforts to provide victims with food, shelter and other support through Crowdrise.

Harvey’s devastating effects on a close family friend inspired Menkes to creation the project, she said.

“His family’s house got completely flooded,” Menkes said. “The water got up to five feet and they were honestly afraid that they might drown. I realized how fortunate I was, and hearing about all these things that people are going through and imagining myself going through the same thing, I would want everyone to be helping me through the process.”

Menkes has already collected $1,350, but she hopes to reach $10,000.

Rock-n-Relief

Junior Matei Fawzy and his band, the F-35’s, performed at Rock-n-Relief, a youth concert fundraiser put on by the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, at AMP by Strathmore Sept. 17. The event raised over $5,000 through ticket and merchandise sales for the Houston Parks Board Foundation, which funds Houston Parks and Recreation Department employees affected by Hurricane Harvey, and the Florida Recreation & Parks Association.

Head of Montgomery County Youth Development Marhonda Williams invited The F-35’s to perform at the concert after the band was a finalist in MoCo’s got Talent, a county-wide talent competition, in May.

“Of course it was great that [Rock-n-Relief] was for a good cause,” Fawzy said. “And we got to have a good performance, so we were happy to play.”

Montgomery County youth has a unique responsibility to help out in time of crises like these, Williams says.

“Everyone has a talent that they can share and use for good, and it doesn’t always have to be monetary,” Williams said. “Young people have to stay creative and use their voices to contribute to the community and effect change.”

How to help:

Donate to Menkes’ fundraiser: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/team/wwhs-hurricane-harvey-fundraiser

Contribute to Abbi and Andrew’s donation project:

Items can be dropped off at 5647 Chester Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814; Walt Whitman HS; and Pyle MS

Use https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ls/s/ref=aw_wl_sr_res#listoflists_A2UDMMF31KI49H and under “Name or Email,” enter “russoaudas@verizon.net” to donate online

For questions, contact russoaudas@verizon.net or (703) 403-5721

Abbi Audas is a columnist for the Black & White.

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