Hurricane Relief ContinuesGAMBIER, Ohio (September 13, 2005) In gestures large and small, the Kenyon community continues to offer assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thus far, about $4,000 has been collected in a fundraising drive, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross. The student affairs staff is helping to coordinate the drive, together with three Gambier businesses, the Peoples Bank, the Middle Ground café, and the Village Market. One generous individual wrote a check for $1,000; the balance has come from numerous smaller donations.
In response to a call for help from the state library of Louisiana, the College has arranged to donate thirty to forty complete computer systems to libraries in that state. Libraries there have been besieged by people seeking information on everything from missing relatives to jobs and insurance claims. Kenyon's Library and Information Services Division is recruiting volunteers to help clean, load, test, and pack the computers.
Kenyon has accepted three students from universities in the area affected by the storm. It is unclear whether these students will remain to graduate from the College or return to their own universities once they reopen. For now, they are taking classes at Kenyon as visiting students.
Individuals have been helping on their own, too. Elizabeth Keeney, a member of the College's Board of Campus Ministries, organized a yard sale through which community members raised $1,200 for the extended family of Kenyon alumna Colette "Coco" Battle '97. The family, located in various parts of Louisiana, lost virtually everything in the disaster.
Even Gambier's youngest citizens have pitched in. Nita Jean Thielke, wife of Kenyon's head men's and women's tennis coach and a first-grade teacher at the Wiggin Street Elementary School, brought her class to Middle Path for two days last week during the lunch hour to sell lemonade. Few could resist the enthusiasm of these young students, who raised about $400 for the relief effort.