New donation of $95K will allow students to focus on education post-hurricane
Hundreds of students affected by Hurricane Harvey have received financial assistance from to the Del Mar College Foundation, and help is still available.
Shortly after the Category 4 storm swept through the region in late August, the Coastal Bend Community Foundation donated $100,000 to a special fund set up to help students recover. That, combined with $20,000 from the Texas Association of Community College and another $6,000 in general donations, allowed the foundation to award grants of between $100 and $500 to 294 students. The Coastal Bend Community Foundation has now donated another $95,000 to help students.
With some students forced to find new places to live or work, school became a challenge for many in the fall.
“It was just a huge financial burden,” said Mary McQueen, executive director of development at the Del Mar College Foundation. “Everything saved for food, gas and house expenses was used for evacuating, replacing food and hotel/living expenses.”
The foundation sent out emails and made calls to students it thought had been affected to let them know help was available.
“Our team personally identified and reached out to about 150 students in areas we knew were heavily impacted, because we knew who was registered in those areas and we had their information,” McQueen said.
Students had to fill out an application then verify they were in classes. From there, they submitted proof that the hurricane affected them, including pictures of house damage plus receipts from hotels, roof repairs and food and living expenses.
“Some students wrote two pages of what their needs were … talking about how they’re sleeping on the couch and how their roof was still leaking, still holes on the ceiling, how they can’t sleep in their bedrooms,” McQueen said.
“You just got a good feel that the students who we helped truly did need it,” she added. “I recall one young gentleman came in to pick up his check after we called and told him, and walked right into my office and gave me a big hug with tears in his eyes. It was very heartwarming.”
Since we are now past the critical point of the hurricane, the remaining funds will be used specifically to help pay for and keep students in school.
“Helping these students just falls into what the Del Mar College Administration’s mission is, removing the financial barrier. Our whole goal is to empower students to reach their academic goals,” McQueen said.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by Harvey and is still struggling, visit the foundation’s section at delmar.edu to apply for the Hurricane Harvey Assistance Fund. You must be enrolled for summer or fall classes to receive funds.