AU Students Show Out for Flood Relief Response
In the wake of the recent flooding of several Southwest Michigan communities, several Andrews University (AU) students sought to provide help affected neighborhoods. As a result, several AU students volunteered their time when an opportunity to help out in Niles, MI appeared.
According to an email sent out by Andrea Luxton, President of Andrews University, “homeowners are responsible for removing damaged items from their residence. The city is then asking volunteers to assist homeowners in moving approved items to dumpsters”.
There were sign up links on OrgSync for two separate shifts of 100 volunteers each. AU students, like Serge Gedeon (senior, English), jumped on the opportunity to serve in their local communities.
Gedeon said, “I remember being told about the opportunity to help out in Niles for the flooding victims and I immediately felt a sense of conviction. I had been praying for them since the flooding started and now I had an opportunity to actually physically help. I didn’t just want to be a voice crying and complaining from a distance. I needed to be part of the present solution. I knew that I needed to participate in this opportunity to help those who had literally lost everything. It was a blessing to take part in this help initiative.”
Volunteers went from door-to-door, asking if households needed help disposing flood damaged belongings. AU students, who sacrificed their time to help out, shared their reasons for volunteering.
“I chose to go out and help with the flood relief because I wanted to put some actions behind my words,” Carolina Cruz (freshman, religion) said when asked about why she decide to go out and help. “The opportunity was given to serve in my current community, so I took it. I’m really glad that I went. It was a humbling experience.”
Other volunteers had more personal reasons to get involved with this service trip.
Matthew Rajarathinam (sophomore, biology) said, “I spent the day helping out a couple and their friend trying to save their home. They had saved up money for 10 years to buy this house and spent the past year fixing it up, and overnight that dream just about got washed away. They had to get rid of almost everything from furniture to appliances. It’s crazy how we can go about our daily lives in peace while only 20 minutes away people are going through a life-altering catastrophe.”
With the onset of creating initiatives to fit in with the last part of the AU motto: change the world, these service opportunities show how AU students are actively taking part in being accountable to their local communities.
Hannah Baquiran (sophomore, religion) said, “I wanted to help with the Flood Relief Response simply because I knew people needed help. As a college student, I know I couldn’t give them a new home or new appliances to replace the ones they’ve lost, but I can be there to lend a helping hand. Whether it was carrying soiled clothes to the dumpster or giving them words of assurance, I knew being there was one way I could allow Christ to show His love for them through me.”