August 30, 2017

State Fair Community College and Smith-Cotton High School are working together to coordinate a community-wide hurricane relief effort that begins Thursday for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Ron Ditzfeld, president of Ditzfeld Transfer Inc., first approached SFCC about partnering with him and Smith-Cotton to provide items needed by the Houston area.

“When Ron calls, you know it’s for something important,” said Dr. Joanna Anderson, SFCC president. “I told him that we would absolutely start working on the effort, and we communicated with Wade Norton, Smith-Cotton High School principal, to coordinate their support.”

Anderson says there is a local connection between Smith-Cotton, SFCC and Houston.

“As we started discussing our plans, we learned from one of our employees that a friend and her family, who were originally from Sedalia, live in the Houston area,” Anderson said. “The friend, Shannon Marino, is a 1989 Smith-Cotton graduate and a 1994 State Fair Community College graduate and works as director of Student Life for Lone Star College-Tomball. The Lone Star College system serves more than 98,000 community college students in the northwest Houston area. We immediately contacted her because we want to help fellow community college students, staff and faculty who have been devastated by the hurricane and its aftermath,” she said.

The Marinos’ son, Nick, is a junior at Tomball High School and an officer on his Student Council, and the Smith-Cotton Student Council will be reaching out to him for any specific needs at his high school.

Because the Lone Star College system is providing open shelters and assessing damage and long-term needs, Marino has provided the college a list of items that are needed immediately:

School supplies for all ages; towels; cleaning supplies (mops, buckets, mildew killer, gloves); personal toiletries (shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, etc.); extension cords; box fans; consumer batteries (not car batteries); laundry detergent; nonperishable grab-and-go food and drink products (unopened and with original label); new bedding items (blankets, sheets, pillows); disposable diapers and baby wipes; over-the counter medication and supplies (ex. Tylenol, Motrin, Tums, Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, Neosporin, Band-Aids, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, gloves, gauze, medical tape); contact cases and contact solution; and children’s liquid over-the-counter medications (Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec).

Neither the college nor Smith-Cotton will be accepting cash or clothing at either location.

“We plan to contact local retailers about clothing donations so that we can better manage the specifics of that need,” said Anderson.

The drop-off location at SFCC is the parking lot near the second west campus entrance along West Sixteenth Street. A trailer will be parked between the Lamm House and the Sports Complex where soccer games are played.

SFCC’s drop-off times are 2-7 p.m. Aug. 31; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 1; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 2; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 5; and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 6.

Another trailer will be located at Smith-Cotton High School, and drop-off times are 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Aug. 31, Sept. 1, Sept. 5, and Sept. 6.

The trailers and transportation of the items to Houston are being donated by Ditzfeld Transfer, Inc. of Sedalia.

Ron Ditzfeld is working with Sgt. Major Randy Woods and the Smith-Cotton JROTC Command, who have volunteered to sort and wrap the donated items before they are transported to Houston.

Norton said Smith-Cotton students and staff members are pleased to work with SFCC and the community to meet the needs of others.

“The connections in Texas are strong,” Norton said. “This helping hand couldn’t happen without our student organizations. Smith-Cotton STUCO and JROTC are taking the lead, but all others will be helping to fill the semi. We hope to connect the two high schools together to pass along our support throughout this school year as they get back on their feet.”

Other school districts, businesses or organizations in the area that would like to collect items toward the effort should contact Dr. Joe Gilgour, SFCC dean of Student and Academic Support Services, at jgilgour@sfccmo.edu for drop-off coordination.

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