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After Harvey, UH pays it forward to Florence victims

September 17, 2018

A plea from University of Houston’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampon last year after Hurricane Harvey battered the community was met with a resounding response _ thousands of boxes of T-shirts and shoes came from athletic departments from across the nation.

Now, as East Coast residents prepare to begin recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence drenched the Carolinas, killing at least 17 people, Cougars and the UH athletics department are ready to give back.

“I know a lot of people came out to help last year, and I feel like we just need to return that type of favor,” said Corey Davis, a senior point guard, as he and about a dozen other UH student althetes loaded donated items into an 18-wheeler at TDECU Stadium on Monday morning. The much-needed items will be shipped to the East Coast with CEVA Logistics helping out with the transportation.

“A lot of schools out of North Carolina came out to help as well,” Davis said, “so it’s good to help people in need.”

Last year Sampson posted a tweet asking for T-shirts and shoes for those affected by Harvey. In addition to receiving the thousands of boxes, college football programs collected enough basic supplies such as water, clothing, food and diapers to fill seven 18-wheelers. Cougars distributed those items to hundreds of people outside Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in north Houston.

“When there is an opportunity for us to help out, that’s what we’re here for,” said Landon Goesling, another senior point guard. “To help others and to help the community whether if it’s here in Texas or in North Carolina.

“There was the hurricane that had happened here and there was a crazy amount of support and help in the Houston, Texas area and from all over the states,” Goesling said. “So when we get the opportunity to help it’s only right for us to give back as well since people so freely gave back to us.”

David Bassity, the Senior Associate Athletics Director for UH Athletics, echoed the players’ comments.

“Obviously with us going through what we went through a year ago, and how the nation responded, we want to do our part,” Bassity said. “It’s our turn now.”

Donations, with emphasis on bottled water, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, snacks, toiletries and pet food, will be collected until 6 p.m.

Bassity said coordiators are still working on where the donations will actually be going to since flooding continues in the Carolinas. UH Athletics and CEVA logistics are working with the university’s Office of Emergency Management to help coordinate them with emergency offices on the East Coast, he said.

“So once we have a destination set we’ll get that word out too,” Bassity said. “It’s looking like North Carolina at this point, but just with logistics we don’t want to just send the truck out there and make it worse than it is.”

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