GCSC provides disaster relief to Puerto Rico

archive: GCSC students, faculty & staff provide disaster relief to Puerto Rico


puerto rico disaster reliefGulf Coast State College students, faculty and staff are teaming up with High Hopes, a local charity, to provide emergency disaster relief to Puerto Rico for those affected by Hurricane Maria.

In a collaborative effort, student organizations (the GCSC Enactus Team, Ripples Of Change and the Student Government Association) are currently designing and fabricating portable solar-powered generators to be distributed to devastated communities. The generators can provide power for needs such as critical medical devices and the refrigeration of medicines. Each generator costs approximately $400 and the goal is to build at least 100 by October 15, 2017. They are seeking donations of components to build the generators. Visit the GCSC Enactus Team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EnactusGCSC to view items with direct links to purchase each component, guaranteeing your contribution is used for its intended purpose. 

“The need for this type of generator is immense,” said Dr. Emmanuel Hernandez, Assistant Professor and faculty advisor of the Enactus Team. “I’ve been in constant contact with some city representatives to identify their primary needs, and power is number one on the list. The gas distribution is too slow or non-existent at this point.” Trisha Coffey, GCSC student and Enactus Team President, added, “My personal reason for helping in this relief effort is to provide support through acts of kindness and to be a source of love and support in this time of need and strength.”

Several Gulf Coast employees are offering their assistance with the project, including Antonio Adessi, Professor; Tom Hoots, volunteer/adjunct instructor; and Jose Lopez-Baquero, Coordinator of the Unmanned Vehicle Systems Program, who will provide aerial mapping capabilities and disaster team preparation and training.

There is also a great need for food, water, non-perishable items and construction supplies. The main drop-off location is at GCSC’s Panama City campus in the McSpadden Student Union East building near the information desk. A second collection point is located at Main Street Consignment on Tyndall Parkway in Callaway and several local high schools will host drop off days. Monetary donations will be accepted and can be made through PayPal by visiting www.gulfcoast.edu/disasterrelief. Checks and money orders (payable to Gulf Coast State College; memo, disaster relief) can be dropped off at the College’s Business Office in the Administration building.

Two large donations have already been received. The beverage company, FrUve (www.fruve15.com), has generously donated 48,000 units of their fruit/tea drinks and Tom Hoots and the College will be donating their 100% solar energy pickup truck to power a clinic or nursing home in need of electricity. “We can literally save lives with it,” said Hernandez. The Enactus Team has secured a distribution network of 20 trucks in Puerto Rico, ensuring all donations will be distributed immediately upon arrival.

Food and non-perishable items needed:

Bottled water Baby wipes Hand sanitizer Diapers Canned food
Dry food Baby formula Garbage Bags Towels Canned milk
Pet food (canned & dry) Pain relief medicine (baby & adult) Stomach & diarrhea medicine Mosquito repellent Blankets & pillows
First aid kits Laundry & dish soap Cots    

Construction supplies needed:

Extension cords Grand fault protectors Pop-up canopies


Wheelbarrows Hammers Crowbars Utility knives
Tarps Work gloves Wood panels Electric generators
Electric cables Rope Chainsaws Safety glasses

For more information, please contact Emmanuel Hernandez at (850) 769.1551, ext. 2845 or ehernand3@gulfcoast.edu.