Rockhurst Sophomore Organizes Fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Rockhurst Sophomore Stephanie Lopez

When Hurricane Harvey hit, Rockhurst University sophomore Stephanie Lopez knew she wanted to help out however she could.

While the rains and flooding did not directly affect Lopez’s immediate family in Dallas, she said has relatives in both Houston and Corpus Christi, where Harvey made landfall.

“I don’t think people even realize how the hurricane is affecting the rest of the state. In my hometown, people can’t buy gas because we just ran out,” she said.

Like many others, Lopez had not realized before how a storm like this impacts all aspects of life. Because of her personal connections to the storms and with this new realization in mind, she began looking for ways that she could help the people of her home state from Kansas City.

The Texas Diaper Bank is a nonprofit organization located in San Antonio, about three hours west of Houston. Their mission is to address the diaper gap and its impact on individuals in crisis. Typically they ask for monetary donations, but currently they are asking for physical donations to be distributed to evacuation shelters for Hurricane Harvey’s survivors.

Lopez decided to donate to the diaper bank once she realized how costly diapers actually are. A big box of them can cost anywhere from $30 to $50, and then that’s only one size. Hurricane survivors range from newborn babies to senior citizens, so the diaper bank is asking for donations of all sizes. Originally, Lopez figured she would raise about $100.

“I thought I’d be able to buy a box or two of diapers and some wipes and send them off to Texas,” she said.

However, within a day of taking action on her idea, she said she had nearly tripled her original goals. Lopez said she started small, asking her cross-country teammates at Rockhurst if they would like to donate anything. When all of the women on the team reacted so positively, someone suggested she open up her fundraiser to the entire University athletic department. Within minutes the message spread to members of Rockhurst’s Greek community and other clubs, too. Students were able to give cash to Stephanie in person or send her money on Venmo, a mobile payment service owned by Paypal.

Hurricane Harvey had a devastating impact on not only the citizens of Houston and the surrounding areas, but on the entire state as well. Gas and water prices have skyrocketed since the disaster struck. In times like these, many feel called to find some small way to help. Lopez has allowed the Rockhurst community to contribute to the relief, too, through the diaper bank fundraiser.