To lend a helping hand to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, a group of students at Oklahoma Christian University created ‘OC Loves H-Town’ as a way to help repair damages in Houston, TX, after the storm left the city in ruins.
Sam Morstain, who said he was one of the creators of the relief collaboration, said the idea for the project came to him shortly after Tropical Storm Harvey struck Houston.
“I was reading news reports and seeing how bad it was and thought about getting some friends with some work gloves and driving down over fall break,” Morstain said. “Then, I realized we could do a lot more based on the community I’m in and the connections that I have. So first, it was the canned food drive. Then, getting donations and the work trip kind of grew in conjunction. I wanted to organize both of those at the same time, because that’s the way I saw it was going to make the biggest impact.”
According to Morstain, students all around campus are getting involved with the hurricane relief project.
“It’s a project in conjunction with a few organizations around school: the Delta Alumni Association, SGA, The Brew, Spiritual Life,” Morstain said. “I have some really good people working with me. We have a guy named Marcus Leonard, who’s a sophomore art major. He did the T-shirt design that’ll be sold to raise money. My best friend, Andrew Overshiner, is in charge of budgetary stuff and then Tyler Clark, obviously, is the SGA president. I’ve had a ton of help and people have been really awesome.”
In efforts to gain support, Morstain said he approached Clark to see if SGA could help increase involvement.
“Sam started brainstorming and pulling together resources that he had,” Clark said. “He utilized his job at The Brew to create a new drink to raise money for Houston. He reached out to his brothers in Delta to see how they could help and he reached out to SGA to explore possible synergies.”
Clark said SGA is doing what they can to help the campus-wide canned food drive run smoothly, as the old SGA office is currently being used to hold the cans for the drive.
“We’ll also be providing a monetary incentive to the club that wins the canned food drive,” Clark said. “Then, during fall break, these cans will be taken to Houston and distributed to those who need it.”
OC Loves H-Town’s Co-Director Andrew Overshiner is from Houston and said he feels particularly drawn to this project as a way to help his hometown bounce back from tragedy.
“Two weeks before I came to OC, I was in downtown Houston late at night with one of my best friends there from high school, and we were taking pictures of the city from a bridge,” Overshiner said. “About three days into the hurricane, that same friend sent me a video from a news helicopter downtown of the bridge that we were on. It was completely under water. That bridge was really high above the bayou, and I realized at that point how high the water had gotten and how bad it really was.”
Overshiner said he hopes ‘OC Loves H-Town’ will inspire students at Oklahoma Christian to get more involved with service work.
“We’re trying to just get all the clubs to collect as many canned foods they can,” Overshiner said. “And the club that collects the most canned food gets $200 that can be used towards working with SGA at some point for another mission trip. So, it’s kind of like an incentive to get this whole thing rolling. We want clubs to be doing the social service part more than just intramurals and competitions. Hopefully, this will be the start of a change in that direction.”