University to serve as relief distribution center
UH could see 4,000 visitors at a Point of Distribution of emergency supplies today, University officials said.
The biggest need will be volunteers, especially early in the morning, said Emily Messa, executive director of Business Services.
"All we need is bodies and smiling faces and people who can help lift morale in the area," she said.
The POD is scheduled to open at 7 a.m., but students who can volunteer in the morning are being asked to arrive no later than 7:30 a.m. to help hand out ice, water and ready-to-eat meals. The POD will be located in Lot 12B on the corner of Scott Street and Calhoun Road, near Robertson Stadium. Volunteers can continue to come and go throughout the day, Messa said.
The supplies were expected to arrive after midnight Tuesday, and as soon as both supplies and volunteers are in place the POD will begin distribution today, Messa said. It will remain open until 6 p.m.
The POD will be supplied and organized by Houston Mayor Bill White’s office and the Army Corp of Engineers, but the University is providing space and manpower, Messa said. The POD that will be at UH was previously located at Texas State University, she said.
"When they asked, of course UH wanted to answer the call," Messa said.
Students should not bring emergency supplies to donate, but can volunteer time, Messa said. Volunteers are also asked to wear red UH shirts if possible.
Depending how quickly the surrounding neighborhoods recover power, the POD could be on campus until Saturday, and volunteers will be needed each day it is open, Messa said.
Volunteers may park at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church parking lot, across from the UH Police Department.
Students parking in Lot 12A and Lot 15D should avoid the Scott Street entrances to help cut down on traffic. Lot 12A can be accessed from Wheeler, and Lot 15D can be accessed from Holman Avenue or Cullen Boulevard, UHPD said.
"We know that students will understand if we’re asking them to park in other areas," Messa said. "They’ll understand it’s for a good cause."
Vehicles coming for aid will be directed through the entrance at Lot 12A across from Burger King, through the parking lot and exiting through Lot 15D West off Scott and Alabama streets, UHPD said. Law enforcement will direct traffic on Scott Street and around the POD area, UHPD said.
The following are the available volunteer shifts for the POD site:
Shift 1: 8 – 10:30 a.m. Shift 2: 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Shift 3: 1 – 3:30 p.m. Shift 4: 3:30 – 6 p.m.