CANTON -- SUNY Canton students and staff led several fundraising initiatives and donation drives to assist Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricaine Maria.
SUNY Canton senior Maurizio M. Paniconi-Pagan from San Juan is partnering with New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort to organize a donation drive on campus to collect supplies for his home country.
"My family was very lucky in comparison to many others," he said. "I know people who have lost everything."
After learning about the devastation, Paniconi-Pagan said he felt helpless being so far away from home.
"I wanted to get on a plane and be with my family, but that wasn't possible. So, I began working on this fundraiser as a way to help my country."
Donations are welcome from the community, and drop-off locations will be available until Oct. 27. At this time, only the following items are being accepted:
• Batteries, flashlights and portable lanterns
• Diapers and baby wipes
• Cases of bottled water
• Feminine hygiene products
All items must be unopened and in their original packaging. Drop-off locations are located at Chaney Dining Hall, Miller Campus Center Room 134, Roos House (Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center), and French Hall Room 100. Financial donations to purchase supplies will also be accepted in Miller Campus Center Room 224. For more information, call (315) 386-7608.
SUNY Canton's Sigma Omega Epsilon sorority, Student Greek Council, and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee are supporting the drive through financial donations and collection efforts.
Online students who would like to donate can contact Coakley's Ace Hardware in Canton by phone at (315) 386-8161 and receive 15 percent off orders for portable lanterns, batteries, flashlights or cases of water. The items will be set aside and picked up by volunteers.
The SUNY Canton men's baseball team is also organizing a t-shirt fundraiser to benefit the Clemente Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports a host of charities, including hurricaine relief aid groups. Three members of the team hail from Puerto Rico and, in 2016, two players traveled with the Roos to their home country in 2016 to compete in the inaugural Clemente Cup competition. To purchase a commemorative Clemente Cup shirt ($30 each), contact Men's Baseball Head Coach Joe Carbone at [email protected] or (315) 386-7396.
In addition, SUNY Canton Admissions Director Melissa Evans is organizing a fundraiser to aid in equine care on the island in coordination with the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The organization has established a disaster relief fund to help horses and their owners recover from storm damage with feed and vet supplies. Contact Evans for more information at [email protected] or (518) 495-7669.