Appeal to aid young hurricane victims

A Sint Maarten school devastated by Hurricane Irma
A Sint Maarten school devastated by Hurricane Irma

Pens and paper at the ready... A massive operation is underway to provide vital stationery for schools devastated by hurricane Irma.

The University of Central Lancashire, the UCLan Students’ Union and the American University of the Caribbean have joined forces to send materials to youngsters on the island of Sint Maarten after their homes and schools were destroyed in September.

UCLan is currently hosting around 700 AUC students and staff in Preston after the hurricane ripped through the area. The students and their counterparts want to do something to help those left behind.

The public and schoolchildren are being asked to fill shoeboxes with school supplies, toys and hygiene items for children aged between five - eight or nine - 12.

Michael Ahern, UCLan’s chief operating Officer, said: “The university community, along with the people of Preston, have been amazing in offering help and support to those AUC students who have moved to Preston while the island of St Maarten is rebuilt.

There is a big recovery job taking place back on the island but we feel this shoebox appeal is a way of allowing us here in Lancashire the chance to help provide vital supplies to children who really have been left with very little.”

Items needed include Pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons, soap, toothbrushes and combs. Sun hats, sunglasses and torches but no food items are also welcome.

Boxes can be dropped off until January 15 at UCLan’s In The City shop, St George’s Centre, (excluding 15 Dec - Jan 8) and the SU Opportunities Centre, Fylde Road, (exc December 23 - January 3) .

The box and lid can be wrapped separately but must not be sealed, as they will be checked and marked for the relevant gender and age group.