The recent disasters around the world have severely impacted many of us in one way or another - homes have been devastated; families have been uprooted and displaced; cities, schools, communities, and infrastructures have been destroyed; and lives have been forever changed. This is a traumatic crisis. Many of us are suffering; others not directly affected share in the heartache, frustration, as well as resolve to be a part of the rebuilding process.

I am touched by the outpouring of support many of us have collectively given to our friends, neighbors, community members, and fellow citizens. This type of service is the Wellesley Effect in action. It is the epitome of Non ministrari, sed Ministrare. Let’s continue to give of ourselves as we encourage and support those now on this involuntary journey of restoration and renewal.

I recognize how overwhelming it might feel for some of us who want to help but don’t know where to start. So I’ve identified a handful of options to simplify the choices to make it easier for you to help where you see fit. Here are some ways you can help:

Tangible Items

From now through the end of November, WAAD New England is collecting tangibles for Hurricanes Harvey and Maria survivors in Texas and Puerto Rico. Enthusiastic WAAD member Quiana Agbai ‘02 and I are hosting eastern and western Massachusetts drop off sites where we will collect necessities. I will then deliver these goods to boots-on-the-ground organizations, which are ensuring survivors receive these donations.

Our contact JoAnna Pickett, Field Account Executive of Caliber Collision Center, Texas along with her team is aiding surviving families with babies in shelters in Texas. She requests items including gift cards from Home Depot, Lowes and Sears for rebuilding materials and appliances; cleaning supplies, gloves, garbage bags; personal hygiene products, soap, and baby diapers.

Western Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico is collecting items for survivors in Puerto Rico at Nueva Esperanza in Holyoke and Greenleaf Community Center in Springfield. They request items including batteries, flashlights, first aid kits, antibiotic ointment, small tool kits, hygiene products, manual can openers, dish soap, hand sanitizer, latex and work gloves, baby diapers, and baby wipes.

Please contact Quiana Agbai at qagbai@gmail.com or Azizah Yasin at ayasin@wellesley.edu to arrange to drop off your donations.  Please do not send food or clothes at this time

Monetary Donations

All Hands Volunteers www.hands.org -  This organization, based in Mattapoisett, MA and Windsor, UK, has made a 2-year commitment to provide U.S. Hurricane relief for survivors of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Its efforts include aid to rebuild homes.

Western Massachusetts Puerto Rican Relief Fund, established by Freedom Credit Union, Main Office, 1976 Main Street, Springfield MA 01103, 413.739.6961.

Adopt a Family Program - send a care package in a USPS Priority Mail flat rate box to Hurricanes Irma and Maria survivors in the U.S. Virgin Islands by participating in the Adopt a Family Program. Visit www.adoptafamilyusvi.com for further information, including guidance on items needed. 

New York-based DARDA Dominica (Dominica American Relief & Development Association, Inc.) for Hurricanes Irma and Maria survivors. Visit www.darda.org or https://www.facebook.com/donate/123751601679995.

Mexico earthquake survivors via Heart to Heart International, which is providing medical care to survivors. Visit www.hearttoheart.org/responding-to-mexico-earthquake/.

Also, you can donate money via PayPal to Topos (Brigada Internacional de Rescate Tlateolco A.C.). Visit www.topos.mx to donate by selecting currency type and entering dollar amount under “Donaciones” located at the top left of the home page.

Finally, if you are a WAAD member affected by any of these disasters, please contact me and let me know how we can help. We’re here for you.

Thank you for showing up for one another.

Love & Light,

Azizah Yasin '94                                                            
New England Regional Representative
Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent