Every penny counts

Newly founded hurricane relief campaign holds volleyball tournament, Oct. 27

Every+penny+counts

When Category 4 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico with 150 mph winds and up to 18 inches of rainfall, Sept. 20,  Dania Ramirez- Bayron, Spanish, braced herself here.

“All of my family and friends are in Puerto Rico,” Ramirez said. “Emotionally, it’s been really tough having my mom down there under those conditions and have family members I haven’t gotten to speak to yet. It is rough, but I have to have faith. There are so many good people that want to help. Eureka has an amazing community, and their support for Puerto Rico has been incredible.”

The monster of a hurricane created immense devastation in Puerto Rico. The storm left the streets covered in feet of murky water. Power lines and buildings lay in shambles and broken trees and rocks cover the once beautiful landscape. Pictures probably do not do the real demolition justice.

It is now four weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, and the destruction is not yet fixed. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that 76 percent of Puerto Rico’s electrical company customers are off the electrical grid. Only 392 miles of Puerto Rico’s 5,073 miles of roads are open and 26 percent of Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority customers are still without potable water as of Oct. 24. Fifty-one people have died due to the hurricane and the number of injured or diseased has continued to rise due to a post-hurricane outbreak of Leptospirosis.

Any donation, even as little as a penny, could help the the devastation in Puerto Rico. Lea Khoukaz (12) and Spanish teachers Julie Weitzel, Jennifer Highfill, Emily Ewald, Rachel Hill, Dania Ramirez- Bayron and Kimberly Lackey created the Puerto Rico Relief Campaign to raise awareness and send support to those struggling in Puerto Rico.

Macy Highfill, Puerto Rico Relief Campaign member, took charge of Khoukaz’s idea of a charity volleyball tournament to raise money for Puerto Rico relief taking place tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 27.

“We wanted to find ways to raise money and spread awareness of the effects of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,” Macy Highfill said. “We thought volleyball would be a fun way to bring everyone together.”

The tournament will be held in Gym B where teams will be divided among the two courts. Sixteen teams of students paid $10 to play in the tournament.

“I am excited for the games,” Chris Hill (12) said. “We have a great chance at winning and a great team. We are going to go hard and have some fun in order to support a great cause.”

For attendees the admission fee is $3. The concession stand will offer Domino’s pizza paid for personally by the teachers of the Puerto Rico Relief Campaign and attendees can purchase t-shirts for $15 each. After paying the admission fee, attendees will receive a stamp on their hand certifying that they can get $3 off of a t-shirt.

The tournament for student teams will be 9 a.m.-2:10 p.m. The student-team winner of the tournament will then go on to play the All Star team consisting of Brent Pearson, Social Studies, Julie Varriano, Science, and Chadd Lamason, Physical Education, from 2:15- 2:45 p.m.

“I do not know who is going to be better,” Weitzel said. “The students will probably win because they are young and actually know something about volleyball.”

The Puerto Rico Relief Campaign is looking for student volunteers to help run the gates, concessions and sell t-shirts. Students can show up to Gym B around 8:45 a.m. to help set up the nets or stay after the tournament until 3:00 to help clean up and take down nets.

All proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Puerto Rico relief through Project Hope, a United States based organization.

“They specialize in bringing medical aid, materials and people on the ground to help people that have been affected by natural disasters,” Weitzel said. “They have a specific one in Puerto Rico. Many of the hospitals are not even able to be used because electricity  access is very minimalized, too. We chose Project Hope because they are highly rated on Charity Navigator and are an American-based company. It was easy to make the donation from the school. It is a worthy organization because of the medical assistance that they provide.”

Any support or donation made at the volleyball tournament will help. Come out Friday morning for a day of volleyball. Every penny counts.