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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Cougars, Rockets assist in supply distribution

More than 600 volunteers ranging from students to celebrities to good Samaritans from across the nation passed out emergency supplies to residents of the Third Ward on Thursday at UH.

"We are getting supplies to people in the community who are still without electricity," business student Ana Shah said. "We are actually handing out water, ice and MRE’s, which are ready-made meals, that the citizens around here can use until their electricity gets back up."

The Rockets passed out ready-made meals, water and ice from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Emily Messa, executive director of Business Services and administrator of the Point of Distribution, said the Houston Dynamo team and Dynamo Bill will assist the volunteer effort from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday.

Dave Hall came from Washington with other volunteers in the United States Army Corp of Engineers to assist the effort. He said he plans to stay "as long as the people need."

Second-year law student Allison Spangle said she came to help out of empathy for fellow Houstonians.

"My family is from South Houston and I know they are struggling, so anything I can do to help out the community," she said.

Some students lent a helping hand, even without power or food at home, such as Alexandria Schmiedeskamp, social work graduate student and members of Cougars for Kids.

"I’ve been sitting at home without power wondering what I can do to help everybody and I heard they were out here today," she said. "I decided I would come down, pitch in and make a difference for some folks that are worse off than me."

The POD was moved from its original location, Texas State University, to the University of Houston to keep streets clear, said Shah, who also works for Houston Mayor Bill White’s office. Dozens of cars had lined up on Tierwester Street to collect rations during Monday afternoon’s volunteer effort.

"We needed more room so that we could get a lot of the street traffic off of the main street and get them into parking lots so we wouldn’t block street traffic," Shah said.

The POD, located near Robertson Stadium in Lot 12B on the corner of Scott Street and Calhoun Road, will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Volunteers will pass out emergency supplies until Saturday.

Administrators plan to continue the distribution next week if electricity still has not returned to the Third Ward.

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