TAMPA — University of South Florida students from Haiti are working to drum up support from the entire campus to help their homeland recover following Hurricane Matthew.
Members of USF's Club Creole met Thursday night discussing ways to help the island nation. Many have close connections to the island nation.
“I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,” said Caleb Exantus, who heard from his father, the pastor of a Haitian church, shortly after the storm.
“The whole roof fell off [the church] and also my grandma's house in Haiti is all messed up,” said Exantus.
Members of the club are coordinating with the Haitian consulate in Orlando, first concentrating on immediate needs like food and shelter.
"We’re providing anything we can,” said Club Creole member Judelande Jeune. We need perishable food, diapers, baby formulas, things to fill the needs right now.”
The next phase will be helping with longer-term recovery. Club members say some areas are still suffering following the earthquake of 2010.
“What can we do later on, a month later when all of this is forgotten? People still needs roofs over their heads,” said Jeune.
The students say they're not alone in their efforts. They've already heard from other organizations on campus eager to offer support.
“I like how we all come as one,” said Exantus. “Even through destruction we all come as one to help each other out, no matter the age, the color, the skin… anything.”
Members of Club Creole say they’ve already started collecting supplies. They’re also looking for someone who might be willing to provide storage space for all the donations.
If you’d like to help, you can contact USF’s Club Creole on their Facebook page.