UCA Volunteers Help in Hurricane Relief Efforts During Fall Break

UCA Bear Boots On The Ground

CONWAY, Ark. - CONWAY, Ark. - The storm has passed but the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey remains in southeast Texas. 

It's been nearly 8 weeks since Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, but it took only hours of watching the destruction for the University of Central Arkansas student organization Bear Boots on the Ground to start making plans to help. 

"It makes me feel like I'm a blessing to them," Patoreus Lewis, a Freshman at UCA said. 

Lewis is one of about 100 students who is part of the Bear Boots on the Ground organization. 

Once Fall Break starts, volunteers will board buses Wednesday afternoon and head to Vider, Texas, about an hour and a half east of Houston.

"That's what our students do. If someone's in need that's where they want to go and make a difference," Wendy Holbrook, Acting Dean of Student Conduct for UCA said.  

Holbrook is also going on the trip and said it wasn't a matter of "if" but "when" the students could start helping in the clean up efforts. 

 "We started getting facebook messages from our students, they were emailing my office asking when are we going, what are we doing?" she said.  

Through a partnership, travel, lodging and food expenses are taken care of, so the focus remains on 50 flood-damaged homes. 

 "We'll be taking out sheet rock, insulation and just help these families be able to return home," Holbrook said.  

As for supplies and donations, the group isn't taking any. They were advised by volunteers in the area to hold off for now. Equipment will be provided, and there's not space for additional donations. 

But the volunteers didn't want to leave the families empty handed. So they had cards made that will enclose gift cards. 

The school is already preparing to go back to Texas in the spring. At that time they'll take donations like pallets of water which have already started piling up. 

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