Key, Leo clubs collaborate for Hurricane Maria relief efforts

Game time is 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26

Naomi Thomas, Arts & Clubs Editor

In a philanthropic effort, Key and Leo clubs are collaborating for the first time with the athletics department Friday, Jan. 26 to raise money for the hurricane disaster that took place in Puerto Rico earlier this year. This fundraising event will accept donations during the boys’ varsity basketball game against Fairfield Warde.

A bake sale and raffles will also be present at the main gym in addition to a donation box. Game time is 7 p.m.

Hurricane Maria was a category 5 hurricane, qualifying as a major humanitarian crisis that caused catastrophic damage resulting in a massive country-wide power outage. Nearly five months after the hurricane the island still has not restored all power. (Several teens from Puerto Rico affected by the hurricane have enrolled here at DHS. See Meghan Edwards’ story).

All proceeds will be sent to UNICEF to assist in continued relief efforts from the direct landfall of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20. The funds raised will help with necessities such as food, water, and clothing for the victims.

For the past several months, the two clubs have been active in collecting advertisements to further the funds being raised for those in need. A compilation of said advertisements and donations can be found in a program dedicated solely to the efforts for Puerto Rico.

President Yacodou Johnson of Leo Club and webmaster Aryana Patricio of Key Club said they feel strongly about the importance of the awareness for this situation in the U.S. territory.

Patricio recalled the moment this idea was brought to fruition, “Yacodou and I were talking to our former teacher, Ms. Colon, about Puerto Rico and how bad everything still is down there. I realized that I haven’t seen much like fundraising or anything to help Puerto Rico and I said that we should do something in the school. Since Yacodou and I are both officers of two volunteer service clubs, we got to talking and we decided that we should team up and do something to raise money for Puerto Rico.”

Gen. Diana M. Holland, commander of the South Atlantic Division of the Army Corps of Engineers, stated in an interview with The New York Times in late December that “most of the island will have power by the end of February;” however, rural areas will not have power until the end of May.

“I feel like it’s important because they are still struggling. Just because a few months have passed, doesn’t mean that they are doing a whole lot better,¨ Patricio added.

The two clubs were able to discuss various methods and exchange ideas to develop the fundraiser. Johnson of Leo Club says, “ I liked collaborating with another club in this school that we normally don’t interact with. I’m excited to see the involvement of our members and students at DHS to come together to help people that we may not directly know.”

The joint effort has made a projection of a better outcome for the cause. “We put in so much work and had a few setbacks, so all we really hope to do is that people have a great time and raise a good amount of money to help out people who truly need it,” Johnson says.