NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State University Foundation has been able to help students affected by Hurricanes Laura and Delta by distributing relief funds to address a number of expenses related to the impact of the category 2 storm that struck the state in August, followed by Hurricane Delta in September. The Hurricane Relief Fund garnered donations from many sources, including an award from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.
“So far, the needs range from some who have completely lost their homes, to those with damaged homes, those needing help with this semester’s tuition or help with bills because of loss of wages or parents’ loss of jobs, living expenses that resulted from students having to leave their residence for a number of days and loss of food from power outages that lasted for a number of days,” said Erin Dupree, NSU’s assistant director of donor relations. “The first round of assistance went out in early September to those who completely lost their homes.”
The NSU Foundation created the Hurricane Relief Fund to assist those in the NSU community directly impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta who have demonstrable financial insecurity. The NSU Foundation established a committee to research submitted requests, determine an appropriate amount to be distributed to the applicant and expedite funds in a time-sensitive manner to best serve the people of Northwestern State. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is supporting Northwestern State University’s Hurricane Relief Fund at the $50,000 level.
“This grant will have a tremendous impact on the assistance the NSU Foundation is able to provide for students affected by Hurricanes Laura and Delta,” said Director of Development Jill Bankston, CFRE. “Students’ whose homes were destroyed and those with long-term power outages are incurring expenses in relocating, replacing books and technology and other unexpected needs. We are doing everything we can to help ease the burden these students are facing.”
The mission of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is to promote the wellness and wellbeing of Louisianians by supporting health- or education-related causes. BCBSLA Foundation awards community crisis and disaster response grants to meet immediate needs such as food security, housing, etc., as well a medium-term needs such as family economic recovery.
An online application form has been established at https://www.northwesternstatealumni.com/hurricane-application/. Applicants should include details, receipts and the amount of the request of expenses, damages and loss of income related to Hurricane Laura.
“We know that many of our students were without power and connectivity for days, but were committed to continuing their studies this semester,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “Our faculty and staff have gone above and beyond in assisting students as they struggle through the storm recovery process. These grant funds from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana, as well as donations from alumni, businesses and community partners will further help us get students back on their feet and back on track with their academics.”
Alumni, supporters, businesses and individuals are invited to donate to the fund through the NSU Foundation website at https://www.northwesternstatealumni.com/hurricane-fund. Donors can also text to give by texting NSUSTORM to 41444. Some corporations are providing grants for hurricane assistance, and the NSU Foundation is preparing applications for grant funds as well.