Beginning on Aug. 25, disaster struck texas for the first time since 1970. A category 4 hurricane swept through southern texas causing more than $70 billion worth of damage, making the named Hurricane Harvey the third-costliest hurricane to come from the Atlantic coast. Five short days later, category 5 Hurricane Irma wiped entire islands off the map while sweeping through the entire state of Florida, making it the most intense hurricane from the Atlantic Ocean to hit American mainland since Hurricane Katrina.
Between the two southern states, millions of families lost everything they owned. Left with nothing but the clothes on their back, and pure devastation.
Within the past couple of weeks, people from near and far have offered to assist those affected by the hurricanes, and the Southmoreland community is among them.
The district’s PTA president, Kristy Smith, of Scottdale, was approached by elementary school teacher and high school volleyball coach Lea-Anne Richter with the idea of filling up a bus with needed items and driving it down to either Florida or Texas to donate.
“The biggest question we all had was, ‘How are we going to find a bus without paying a fortune and being able to have it for a few weeks?’,” said Smith. “Then, I found something that would work.”
One of the Smith’s three children is involved in the Dream Horse Stables and the 4H Gaited Hoof Club. Kelli Cinabulk of Dream House and Smith agreed the horse trailers owned by them were a perfect fit for what was needed, so they joined forces and the collecting began. So far the community has gathered a substantial amount of supplies such as, pet food, cleaning supplies, and clothes, but they aren’t done yet. The trailers will continue accepting donations of any non-parishible items until the end of Friday’s at the football game, (Sept.15th), and then make a stop at the Tractor Supply in Mt.Pleasant on Sunday, Sept. 17. It will then move to Hempfield School District and be shipped down to either Florida or Texas the first week of October.
“I think we were all just looking to do something nice,” said Smith.
Disaster is not something that one can fully prepare for, nor is it something one can avoid. Smith is trying to help those who need help.