This year’s hurricane season has been anything but a weak one, with hurricanes hitting both the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, both headed northwards. Particularly devastating was Hurricane Florence, reaching as high as Category 4 and causing massive property damage for millions of people. While recovery efforts are still underway as much as a month later, help has come from a reliable charitable source. The call to help has been answered as athletic departments pitch in to help communities recover.
In North Carolina, Tar Heel football players were tasked by their coach, Larry Fedora, with gathering relief supplies for those affected by the hurricane and starting distribution. Coach Fedora, who organized the drive and spread the word in the local community, said “We’ve got a lot of people that are suffering in the state and in the Carolinas all together, and so the team wanted to do something — anything we could — to help out the people that are hurting right now.”
Similar efforts were carried out by Louisiana, the Ragin’ Cajuns asked fans to help the athletic department pitch in by collecting donations of both money and goods to help victims of Florence in the surrounding area. A notice was sent out to area residents asking for donations of bottled water, non-perishable food items, and cleaning supplies, to be collected and later distributed to those in need.
The recent arrival of Hurricane Michael has seen other athletic departments pitch in. Florida A&M’s football team recently helped those hit by Hurricane Michael in Florida’s panhandle region. Assisted by contributions from the FAMU Alumni Association, the players, led by coach Willie Simmons, distributed donated supplies on Highway 27 to those in need.
Just this week Troy announced plans to collect supplies for Florence victims. The Trojans are collecting items now through next Thursday, October 25, which will then be loaded onto Troy’s football equipment truck and delivered to victims.
“We are proud of our student-athletes and student leaders for taking the initiative to provide for those who are still in need due to the magnitude of this hurricane,” Troy Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain said. “Hurricane Michael hit close to home for many students, faculty, and staff at Troy University, and this is a wonderful opportunity to show that the OneTROY spirit rings true.”
College athletics are a fixture of culture all across the United States and have become an indelible part of the culture. Often supported by locals not only through ticket sales to games but donations and part-time employment, college athletic departments help foster a sense of community and are willing to step up to help those communities in return during times of great need, such as natural disasters. As long as there is a need, you always see college athletic departments pitch in and come to the aid of those in need.