Every year, Mississippi State’s Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program participates in a community service project.
With limited options due to COVID-19, students found the opportunity to lend a hand to those recovering from the 2020 hurricane season.
“There’s other people in need so there’s absolutely no reason I could come up with to not help the people that need it,” says MSU sophomore Ethan Morris.
Millions of people in the Gulf Coast are still recovering from the billions of dollars worth of damage left by Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta even as Hurricane Zeta closes in.
It’s a feeling that MSU senior Emily Hudgens knows herself, growing up with family on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“I was only in kindergarten when Hurricane Katrina hit but I remember the feelings and the emotions of my family back home,” she says.
That’s why Hudgens and her classmates in MSU’s METP partnered with Starkville Community Church to collect donations for the people of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“We all jumped at the chance to be able to help,” Hudgens says. “We were just kind of sitting and waiting and trying to figure out what we could do.”
The students contributed close to $1,500 worth of toiletries, dippers and other items to a supply drop large enough to help hundreds of households across Louisiana. The education students also collected supplies specifically for the Lake Charles-area schools, where 97 percent of schools in the district sustained damage.
“Their schools had been completely flooded, all of their supplies were molded and had to be thrown out and so that really hit home personally as an education student,” Hudgens says.
Morris says it was rewarding just working together with his fellow students towards a common goal.
“I like getting to see other people around me, classmates and peers that share the same values as me,” Morris says. “There’s people in need, they deserve help and we can give it to them.”
Hudgens says the undertaking re-affirms the importance of community and making a change outside of a classroom.
“We know we can’t change the world in a day but if we can help a small corner and help those people, we know that they are grateful and that we can have an impact on that area,” Hudgens says.
The MSU METP students will continue collecting donations through the month of October. Anyone who wants to donate items may drop them off at the METP office at 75 Morgan Avenue on MSU’s campus during regular business hours.