University City Community Rises Above Flooding Disaster to Help District Families
Devastating flooding during the last week of July forced University City residents from their homes and caused millions of dollars in property damage. About 30 University City Schools families and caregivers had to flee their homes or relocate after the flooding, and dozens more suffered intensive personal property loss.
The U. City Community immediately rose to the challenge with resources, empathy and support.
As news spread of the flooding in the early morning of July 26, the District and its many partners and supporters took action. By 6 a.m., district staff were on the streets, offering emergency van shuttles to help evacuate families. Pershing Elementary School was opened as a temporary emergency shelter for residents. Staff immediately began providing snacks, clothing and shoes from the University City Boutique, the district’s clothing pantry.
Within hours, the District fielded nearly 50 phone calls and emails from citizens asking how they could help. Under the leadership of the student services office, a donation center was set up in the Ronald E. McNair Administration Building on Olive Boulevard.
Volunteers from The Journey Hanley Road and One Family Churches arrived immediately and began folding and sorting clothes into sizes. Emergency baskets featuring personal hygiene, household cleaning supplies and paper products were assembled. Throughout the afternoon, District staff and volunteers transported boxed lunches, blankets, pillows, extra clothes, supply baskets, and shoes to assist families who had been relocated to the
St. Louis County evacuation center at the Richmond Heights Community Center.
As the day continued, the University City Education Foundation established an online monetary donation site. The donations came in steadily. More than $1,000 was raised overnight. By Thursday afternoon, donations had piled up into both conference rooms and the hallway of McNair. By the weekend, members of the University City Varsity Football Team were out in neighborhoods, helping residents remove debris and damaged items from homes. By the weekend, national news was celebrating rising sophomore John Trotter for his heroic efforts that led to the rescue of a young child trapped in rising floodwaters.
So far, the District has collected more than $10,000 in monetary donations and more than a ton of household donations - so much so, that it has halted clothing and household donations to give volunteers time to catch up and get the items to families.
The monetary donations will help with purchasing needed items, such as kitchen supplies, beds, dressers and pet supplies. Families continue to struggle with replacement housing, but the District has been reaching out to ensure their children will be able to get to school each day. The work to support our students, parents, caregivers and staff continues.
Monetary donations may be made online via the University City Education Foundation at www.ucityschools.org/FloodRelief.
Families and caregivers requesting assistance due to flood damage should go to www.ucityschools.org/FloodHelp.