By Abby Crosley and Chrysa Keenon | Echo
Immediate and ongoing hurricane relief efforts are happening on campus involving planning mission trips and food collection drives.Partnering with Upland-centered Lightrider Ministries, Taylor is making efforts to send students and other volunteers down to Houston to assist in hurricane relief over spring break.Brainstormed by Lightrider's Director of Bus Ministries Craig Smalley, the upcoming spring break trip will involve bussing multiple groups down to the Houston area. The ministry will accommodate around 30-40 volunteers on each bus, and the trip will last around eight days. Smalley projected there would be five days of work, as he said it takes roughly 18 hours to drive to the area.
"We thought it would be beneficial to have students get involved and show their faith in a practical way," Smalley said. "It would be great for social work majors to get some great experience, as well as anyone else that would want to be involved."Wanting to find partners in the Christian community, Smalley reached out to Taylor as well as Cedarville University in Ohio. A representative from Cedarville contacted Lightrider's partner in Van Buren, Eagle Wings. Through that organization, Lightrider came in contact with Cedarville. Now both universities are working to send volunteers to Houston.
The trip is working through Campus Crusade for Christ International, also known as Cru in the United States. Director of Discipleship Programs Sara Hightower-Yoder explained that Cru will be assisting Taylor in organizing lodging and work projects while in Houston.
"As things unfold, we will determine if we add an additional trip to help with Hurricane Irma relief as well," Hightower-Yoder said.
If students are interested in learning more about this program, informational sessions will be held Oct. 23-24 at 7 p.m. in the Recital Hall.
The athletic department has also had a hand in relief. According to a statement posted by Assistant Athletic Director of Communications Seth Mikel, non-perishable foods are in collection at home football, volleyball and soccer games. Containers are available during games at the entrances to Turner Stadium and Paul Patterson Court for continuing donations until next Saturday.