Hurricane Irma wrecked havoc on Florida, but through all the destruction and chaos, the community came together and continues to strengthen everyday. To help rebuild the community in the Keys, Dr. Doug Laurie and his wife Mrs. Natalia Laurie organized a trip to Big Pine Key, Saturday, September 23. Thirty students and several faculty members from the Plantation and Boca/Delray campus participated in distributing supplies at Keys Community Church and clearing the debris at Big Pine Academy.
From 9 a.m. -12 p.m., students helped unload supplies ranging from canned foods to toiletries from trucks and place donated items on the right table at the distribution area. Residents in need were allowed to take one or two of each of the items they needed and were told to come back the next day if they needed more. Among the hurricane victims was Tracey Jackson, who rode out the storm in her house in Big Pine Key. During the hurricane, she had to hold down her shutters with dog leashes and watched as her house filled with water. The hurricane carried away both her cars and left her and her son without a job. Through the seemingly hopeless destruction, Jackson feels as if the community has actually come together.
“I’ve met neighbors I’ve never met before. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Yesterday (September 22), we had someone help us tarp the roof. Everybody has just been helping each other clean up and that’s been really nice,” Jackson said.
From 1-5 p.m., the students went across the street to clean up Big Pine Academy. The students lined up like an assembly line and passed down supplies, such as animal crackers and paper towels, from a truck. They also assisted in moving dead trees and raking up debris and bagging it. After the laborious work, the school was mostly cleared of the wreckage. The trip concluded with a dinner at Skippers in Key Largo.