10/14/04 — WCC students return good deed by helping flood victims in the west

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WCC students return good deed by helping flood victims in the west

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 14, 2004 2:05 PM

It's time to repay some good deeds.

Five years ago when Hurricane Floyd struck, more than 75 Wayne Community College students affected by the floods were assisted by strangers from the North Carolina mountains.

Now, students and staff at Wayne Community have banded together to support the flood victims in western North Carolina.

For weeks, 17 campus groups have sponsored drives and found ways to collect donations from businesses and individuals. The wares will be on display outside the college on Saturday during a yard sale from 7 a.m. until noon.

Tara Humphries, public information officer at Wayne Community, said students and staff at the college have been very creative in the effort.

The school's librarian sympathized with women who might have lost makeup in the flood and decided to contact cosmetics companies for donations; others responded with pet needs, baby supplies, gardening tools, and household supplies.

The college also contributed 13 surplus computers that will be given to Haywood Community College.

Residents of the mountain region in and around Haywood County suffered many losses during the storms. At Haywood College, four buildings were destroyed, along with four cars used by the Basic Law Enforcement program. More than $1 million in damages were done to buildings and supplies at the school, forcing it to close for five days.

Jackie Thigpen, president of the Criminal Justice Club at Wayne Community College, said students here were glad to pitch in.

"It has made most of the students here feel really good to do something to help," she said, "because they remember when people from the mountains came down and helped us."

She said boxes were placed at various locations, and news about the collections spread throughout the community.

"Everybody has just been so wonderful," Ms. Thigpen said of the response.

In addition to the practical things and the typical yard-sale items, Ms. Humphries said, there is also a lot of "cool stuff" for sale. She said that includes an aquarium, old record albums, and furniture.

"Two of the most touching donations," she said, "were a kitchen table and chairs donated by 4-year-old Brandi Parker," whose mother Amanda works at the college, "and a carload of cleaning supplies from Eastern Wayne Middle School students who specifically wanted their donations to go to the mountains."

As part of "Make A Difference Day," a dozen students and several staff members will depart from Goldsboro on Friday, Oct. 23, and spend Saturday distributing supplies and helping out where needed at Haywood Community College.

Dr. Janice Gilliam, vice president for student services at Haywood College, said Wayne Community's generosity has been heartwarming.

"We're just overwhelmed at their thoughtfulness and concern," she said.

She said 21 students and nine employees have been directly affected by the storms. Assessment of all the damages continues. "There's still lots of cleaning up to be done."

"Some of the students are without furniture," she added, "and there's a lot going on and a lot yet to be done."