Mercer Leads Disaster Relief Effort (continued)

With proper permits in hand, Mercer’s three volunteer drivers traveled right through New Orleans. Rather than going to Baton Rouge as originally planned, they had been asked to deliver to a church distribution center in the badly damaged small town of Belle Chase.

"The National Guard was right there to help our drivers unload supplies for waiting families," said Marie Mendez, whose husband, Lorry, volunteered to drive the truck with two others. "The people cried," she said. "It was just what they needed." As volunteers sorted the supplies, they expected many more families to come the next day.

The relief effort was made possible by hundreds of individuals on campus who contributed generously by purchasing cartons of new items. All of the unions also contributed. Monetary donations amounted to $1827. A portion of that was spent on items in short supply, such as underwear for men, women and children, socks, flashlights, can openers, bath towels and some hair products for the children. Any leftover money will form the basis for PHASE II of MCCC's disaster relief effort -- a scholarship fund for students displaced by the disaster.

Many Mercer students gave generously of their time to sort and pack. The MCCC Hospitality Club put together a donation of $1650 worth of products from Sysco, a large food supply firm, who delivered cases of water, granola bars, rubber gloves, and toilet paper. The club donated $300 from its fundraising efforts, which was combined with personal donations from Sysco staff members and an additional $1,004 from the Princeton Tiger Inn.

Other large community donations also helped to fill the truck. The Hungarian Club donated $500. Notre Dame High School's nurse conducted a drive and sent over 50 boxes of new items. The Plainsboro Community Emergency Response Team donated several skids of items, including water, cleaning supplies, paper products and infant supplies. FedEx donated their trucks and drivers to transport items to Mercer.

The most unusual donation? A 1956 wedding gown, still neatly boxed up, sent to cheer up a future bride or put a smile on the faces of hurricane victims.

Click here for photos of our campus efforts

Click here for photos of the trip, supplied by the drivers