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Photo: Writing Center Staff and Students

Shaw Writing Center Collects Donations for Disaster Relief

For the past week, Shaw students, faculty, staff and neighbors have been stopping by the Shaw Writing Center to drop off items like toothpaste and canned green beans. Normally a place where students come by to seek feedback on a first draft, it now doubles as a drop off point for items to be shipped to areas that have been affected by recent natural disasters as they struggle to recover.

The Writing Center staff will tell you it's all in a day's work.

"The Writing Center really wants to continue collaborating with the community," said Maegan Mercer-Bourne, Director of The Writing Center. "Writing centers are refuges and safe places for everybody, so that's why this is something that is writing center related even if it's not writing related."

"We were shocked by the devastation that we saw on the news," said Writing Consultant Carla Monroe. "Of course, Shaw has students that come from countries and territories that have been affected like Mexico and Puerto Rico. We wanted to do whatever we could to help."

Shaw junior Michelle Olmeda-Gonzalez is a varsity volleyball player from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Fortunately, all of her family is safe and healthy, however she struggles with the realization that her home is forever changed.

“I haven’t been home since spring break,” said Olmeda-Gonzalez. “I couldn’t go over the summer. Something told me that I should have taken a week to go home, but I didn’t.”

Olmeda-Gonzalez says she is grateful to see the Shaw community coming together to support affected areas and encourages people to give what they can, even if it is only a small donation.

“I give thanks because any small thing that you give will make a difference… Anything can help Puerto Rico right now; a dollar, a pack of water; any little thing can help. God will multiply it. I know that for a fact.”

The Writing Center is teaming up with Helping Hand Mission, a Raleigh-based non-profit that assists families in need. Executive Director Sylvia Wiggins says that the relief effort with Shaw is all about paying it forward.

"As I look back several years ago, we were suffering the same way when we had the hurricane here," said Wiggins. "People rallied around us and we appreciated that so much. When you lose everything and you're in a bad dilemma, it helps to know that other people care."

Wiggins says that Shaw students and graduates have long been a part of their efforts to help people in need in the community.

"We've always had a partnership with Shaw. This is just the latest example of how this institution steps up when people need help."

The Writing Center is collecting donations through the end of the month. If you have items you would like to donate, you can drop them off at the TOS Education Building on the second floor at 309 E. South Street. Appropriate donation items include toiletries, water, clothing (new or gently used), cleaning supplies, blankets, and non-perishable food items. Call 919-546-8468 with questions.