Newman adopts Houston Elementary school to aid Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

Sep 07, 2017
School Supplies Moore Elementary

Newman University, like the rest of America, is looking to lend a helping hand to those affected by Hurricane Harvey in whatever way they can. Sonja Vogt, help desk and classroom technology coordinator, has organized “Pack a Backpack for a Student” with the goal of gathering and sending school supplies to an elementary school in need.

This relief effort will aid Moore Elementary in Houston. Vogt said, “Students hadn’t even started school when the hurricane hit. If they had supplies ready they may have lost everything.”

Originally, the Pack a Backpack program was started for Owens Elementary where Vogt’s sister-in-law, Sheri Myers, and niece, Kimberly Benigno, work in the math department. Vogt and her husband, John, who is an associate professor and chair of the division of science and mathematics at Newman, have kept in touch with two. After hearing of the damage, the Vogts decided they had to do something to help.

Sonja contacted Owens Elementary Principal Amy Frank, who provided her with a list of items that the school would like donated. Soon after she sent the list, Frank realized the situation was much more dire for Moore Elementary and asked that donations be sent to them instead.

Vogt emailed the principal of Moore Elementary, Patricia Myers, to let her know that the Newman community is banding together to help their students. Myers replied with appreciation for the effort and mentioned “packed back packs would be very useful!”

Moore Elementary
Moore Elementary barely visible behind flood waters

“Moore Elementary has been devastated and the people there have been completely displaced,” Vogt said, “Some of the students there have difficulty buying school supplies as it is, much less after all of this.”

Their school is scheduled to start on Sept. 11 and the damage is bad enough that they plan to relocate for at least the fall semester.

Donations are being taken at the student help desk in Dugan Library. Already more than 300 pencils, 72 notebooks, crayons, highlighters and more have been collected.  There is a large need for school supplies as well as Target, Walmart and Visa gift cards.

If you would like to make a monetary donation, please visit Moore Elementary’s donation site. Items collected at Newman will be delivered to Moore Elementary before school begins. Donations will be accepted and delivered after Sept. 11 as well.

Suggested supplies:

  • Backpacks
  • Glue/glue sticks
  • Thick classic markers
  • Wide-ruled spiral notebooks
  • Dry erase markers
  • Composition books
  • Plastic school boxes
  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Crayola crayons (24 count)
  • Pink erasers
  • Fine tip markers
  • Pocket and brad folders
  • Blunt tip scissors
  • Play-Doh
  • Baby wipes
  • Yellow highlighters
  • Pack of #2 pencils
  • Sticky notes
  • Box of sandwich bags
  • Packages of notebook paper
  • Earbuds
  • Kleenex

The school is requesting new items rather than used and items do NOT need to come in a backpack. Those interested can use the list above for ideas, but anything and everything is welcome.


Update 9/20

Moore Elementary has notified us that they have run out of space for supplies. Vogt is eager to help hurricane victims and quickly found a school in Jacksonville, Florida that could use our assistance. Tolbert Elementary was hit by Hurricane Irma and is 100% low income.

Vogt has been in contact with the principal and said “They are SO grateful for the things we are sending.”

The principal of Tolbert Elementary thanked Vogt and said, “Please share our feelings of gratitude.  Our school’s theme for this year is ‘We are a League of Extraordinary Learners that are College Bound!’  Our motif is superheroes.  Your organization are our heroes!”