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School of Social Work students and faculty team up to help hurricane victims

When Hurricane Harvey hit, two graduate students from the School of Social Work got a firsthand look at what can be achieved with a little teamwork.

Teahna Lockhart and Danielle Tooley, both graduate students in the master of social work program, organized a fund drive for victims of Hurricane Harvey. It was something of a last-minute effort: Thanks to help from Erin Brosious, an academic coordinator from the school, the pair coordinated with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to add their donations to a 22-ton tractor-trailer of supplies the organization was sending to Texas.

But Lockhart and Tooley found out about the FOP drive just a few days before it was scheduled to end--leaving them just a weekend to gather donations.

Lockhart and Tooley worked hard making fliers, announcing it on the school’s listserv, sending emails and posting on social media. And, on the last day of the drive, they and Brosious delivered around $1,000 worth of food, personal items, blankets, baby bottles and other supplies to the FOP lodge in Northeast Philadelphia.

“Working here for six years, I’ve never seen any of our drives produce what this did,” said Brosious.

The drive began with Lockhart, who followed the storm’s devastation on social media. “I constantly witnessed devastating pictures that broke my heart,” she said. “I wanted to do something, and thought I’d have better results working with a group.”

Lockhart brought it up at a recent student collective meeting, where Tooley quickly volunteered to help.

“Hearing about everyone losing everything they have is extremely sad. I couldn’t imagine being in that position, and I wanted to help them,” said Tooley.

After Brosious connected them with the FOP, the students opened up the drive to more than canned goods, as they originally planned, after hearing what supplies the organization needed. And, they bought more items, using the $500 or so they received in cash donations, on their way to the lodge.

“We were nervous about people having short notice over the long weekend,” admitted Lockhart, “But it feels good that everything turned out so well.”

Posted:  September 19, 2017