Author starts fundraiser for Harvey and Irma victims
Son Kyle set up donation box at Ecker Hill
September 20, 2017
Although hurricanes Harvey and Irma have passed, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to help survivors in Texas and Florida get their lives back together.
Trish Walker, a Park City-based author, has started a fundraiser for Reach Out WorldWide, a nonprofit in Los Angeles that consists of a network of professionals with first-responder skill-sets who augment local expertise when natural disasters strike in order to accelerate relief efforts.
"People have this idea that if you survive a hurricane, you are going to be alright, but in reality, that's when the real trials start, because you have no water, no electricity," Walker told The Park Record. "That's when ROWW comes in. They help provide people with the things they need to start getting their lives back together.
"ROWW has been in my sphere for the past three or four years, and it's an organization that I make donations to," Walker said. "This past week with [hurricanes] Harvey and Irma going through, I felt I needed to do something."
Walker didn't want to just pray or send good thoughts to the victims and survivors.
"I've had the urge to do more," Walker said. "So I called the main offices at Reach Out WorldWide and a woman named Nikki [Membrere], who was at the office, said the biggest thing they needed was money.
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Walker visited Reach Out WorldWide's website, roww.org, and saw there weren't a lot of donations, so she set up her own donation page on Facebook.
The page can be found here.
"If people would only donate as little as $5, it would help so much," she said. "People can be assured their donations will go straight to the cause."
Reach Out WorldWide was founded by the late actor Paul Walker (no relation to Trish Walker) shortly after the 2010 Haiti earthquake that left thousands dead and homeless.
"I came to know about the nonprofit through a friend, Jesse Brisendine, who was best friends with Paul," she said. "After the earthquake in Haiti, Paul was sitting with some friends and said he wanted to something, and Jesse said, 'Do it.'"
Reach Out WorldWide, known as ROWW, currently has a team in Houston.
"They are working to clean out the muck, mud and mold that the receding waters have left," Walker said. "There are also teams in Florida, where they are helping with finding the remains of those who lost their lives in the storm."
Walker knows first hand what it's like to worry about loved ones during the hurricanes. She has family who live on Marco Island, Florida.
"My niece and her two kids were able to get out of there and flew to my other niece's house in New Jersey," Walker said. "However, her husband's parents didn't want to leave, and he didn't want to leave them in the house alone. So he stayed behind."
The family members have since contacted Walker to tell her they had survived.
Walker also has another friend, a doctor who lives in Tampa, who was notified that he needed to stay behind and help victims.
"With all of this, I really wanted to be proactive and help," Walker said.
Her determination rubbed off on her 12-year-old son Kyle, a student at Ecker Hill Middle School.
"I have a contact in Houston that said local students down there need school supplies, and she was accepting anything that she can give to schools and students," Walker said. "Well, Kyle wanted to do a donation drive."
Walker reached out to Ecker Hill Principal Traci Evans and got the OK.
"She was very supportive of the idea, and a donation box will be set up in the lobby next week," Walker said. "I'm so thankful that Kyle wanted to do this. I mean, he's 12, right? And all he thinks about is video games, but this was something he as really adamant to do."