Hurricane relief team dispatched to Caribbean this weekend
Liberty University will be sending a team of eight students and three staff members to the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda to assist Samaritan’s Purse with cleanup efforts following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma. The trip is part of LU Send Now, the university’s disaster relief initiative.
The group will leave Friday, Sept. 22, and return on Oct. 1. They will leave from Greensboro, N.C., on Samaritan’s Purse’s DC-8 cargo plane.
Though LU Send Now has partnered with Samaritan's Purse on several trips, this will be the first-time it has partnered with international relief arm of the organization. Students were interviewed by Samaritan's Purse staff and specifically selected based on their international experience and preparation for disaster relief work.
Barbuda was one of the hardest hit areas, with 95 percent of the structures on the island destroyed by the Category 5 hurricane. More than 1,700 Barbuda residents were evacuated to nearby Antigua.
“I cannot imagine what it’s like to physically watch your home tear apart and have no control over it,” said Liberty senior and LU Send Now team member Sarah Williams. “I hope to remind someone that they’re not alone through this.”
Williams said LU Send Now is an opportunity to show the world that Liberty cares about what is going on and wants to help in any way it can.
“LU Send Now is an example of the many ways this university promotes self-giving as more than a cool asset to add to your résumé,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about us going on this trip, but it’s about using what’s been entrusted to us to give to those who need it more. I feel incredibly fortunate to be trained by LU Send Now and participate in these trips.”
Sophomore Kasandra Vallette said her family living in the Dominican Republic was affected by Hurricane Irma. Vallette’s family was spared from any major damage, but she knew of others whose homes were flooded and damaged.
“Since I am unable to help my family, I decided that I wanted to help other families,” she said. “I am really proud to say that I attend Liberty and that the university reaches out to anyone who has a need.”
This is the second hurricane relief trip through LU Send Now this month. Previously, a team of 10 students and two staff members were dispatched to Victoria, Texas, to help residents following Hurricane Harvey, which caused extensive damage to southeast Texas.
To donate to Liberty’s hurricane relief fund or to the LU Send Now teams, visit Liberty.edu/LUSend and click on the donation tab.