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Alcorn Cares: Students assist with clean-up efforts in Hattiesburg

Four days after an EF-4 tornado tore through the City of Hattiesburg, 35 Alcorn students and five employees boarded a bus for the nearly three-hour ride to help with relief efforts. “It hurts to know that the city was devastated like this”, expressed military science major Chad Cooper. “It really feels good to be able to come out and help.”

Students arrived at First Trinity Baptist Church to unload 50 cases of water, canned goods, toiletries and other non perishable goods collected from the Alcorn family. “In an instant, your life can change forever. Your home destroyed. Your entire city devastated. It’s important for us to take a moment and realize not only how fortunate we are but to reach out and help families pick up the pieces”, expressed junior biology and bio-chemistry major Kristen Hurns.

“It almost saddens me to see the physical devastation in the community that I grew up in“, shared senior mass communication major Ashlyn Craft. Craft is a native of Columbia, Mississippi, and still has family in the area. “This opportunity to give back and help make a difference personally means so much to me”.

Pascagoula, Mississippi native Ryisa Valdez, who lost almost everything including her home during Hurricane Katrina, understands personally what the people of Hattiesburg are going through. “We went from living in a house to living in a single-wide trailer. It wasn’t easy but I learned to value some things more than others,” said the senior biology health science major. “It’s important for people to know that Alcorn is willing to help, that we are a community that cares and serves far beyond the boundaries of our campus.”

Students were able to clear several yards before boarding the bus back to campus. “The visit to Hattiesburg served as our inaugural trip under the “Alcorn Cares” volunteer campaign”, said Vice President for Student Affairs E. Cheryl Ponder. “It is important that our students are engaged and participate in activities that build character and help strengthen the community as a whole”.

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