Athletes donate after Harvey


Candy Dellendy places detergent into buckets during a flood bucket making event Thursday at Dayspring United Methodist Church in Tyler, Texas. The large buckets contained household items which will be given to people who are cleaning up their houses after flood damage from Hurricane Harvey. NIU athletes have gathered similar donations for victims.

By Morgan Fink

DeKALB — In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many people living in the Houston area have been left without homes and with their belongings ruined; this inspired the NIU Athletics Department to step up and help donate items for the victims of the storm.

Organizations such as the women’s volleyball team and the men’s basketball team participated in a drive set up by Kelvin Sampson, the University of Houston’s men’s basketball coach.

Hurricane Harvey hit the south of Texas Aug. 26, creating massive flooding in the state and forcing people to evacuate their homes.

Those affected by the storm found themselves in need of everyday items. Sampson reached out via Twitter Aug. 28 to those who could donate these needed items.

“I have had so many of my friends in the coaching profession text and call offering prayers and thoughts for all Houstonians,” Sampson said in a tweet. “They all ask what we can do to help. Well, I came up with something I think coaches at all levels can help with.”

Sampson requested that his Twitter followers send whatever they could.

Since the message was posted, it has been viewed by more than 2.58 million people, and more than 1,300 donation commitments were made, according to a statement made by Sampson on Twitter Aug. 31. Athletic departments from across the U.S. donated clothes and other necessities to the University of Houston.

Senior setter Chandler Kinley helped organize the donations that were sent to Houston.

“I was scrolling through Twitter, and I saw a tweet from the University of Houston’s men’s basketball coach, and I sent it to our coach and wanted to get something going so we can send something to Houston from our school,” Kinley said.

Kinley said she wanted her team to go the extra mile by donating other items that the people in Houston needed. The team pooled together $160 to purchase items from the Dollar Tree, 2060 Sycamore Rd.

“I asked my teammates to donate money, and I was getting messages back from everyone donating anything between $10 and $20 ,” Kinley said. “Me and another teammate went to Dollar Tree and literally started grabbing things from the shelves.”

Before making any purchases, the pair researched shelters in Houston to see what donations they’re requesting. Kinley and her teammates purchased items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes, deodorant, soap, baby wipes, tampons and hand sanitizer. These items were shipped to Houston by the team Aug. 30.

“We gathered things that we thought would be helpful for the people in Houston,” Kinley said. “We were looking for stuff that we knew could ship safely and to make sure these items were what people truly needed.”

The men’s basketball team rallied to donate to Sampson’s drive, as well, said Jeremy Reid, assistant athletic communications director.

“After Sampson sent the Tweet about the drive, the team donated T-shirts and shoes,” Reid said.

Although Sampson’s tweet was aimed at athletics departments, anyone who wants to help can.

“We want students’ help getting involved,” Kinley said. “If anyone can help donate, we’d love to have students help with donating items. Our department can get those items where they need to go.”

After Hurricane Irma passes, the women’s volleyball team wants to help out victims in any way they can, Kinley said.

“We will have Irma covered, as well, as soon as we can verify afterward the items they need,” Kinley said. “I’m sure our team would love to donate to them as well.”