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Money is the Greatest Need to Help Victims Rebuild Lives
The University of Mississippi community helps Hurricane Katrina’s victims in 2005. The university is now seeking donations to the Rebel Relief Disaster Fund to help students affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The University of Mississippi’s Rebel Relief Disaster Fund will aid victims of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas last week and continues to cause historic flooding in Texas and Louisiana as a tropical storm.

The Ole Miss community is seeking ways to help victims of the storm, as the university has many students from the affected areas, said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs.

“We have more than 500 students with home addresses in the impacted counties in Texas,” Hephner LaBanc said. “Each of them will get an email from me today (Wednesday) outlining the resources that are available on campus to assist them. These students can also call my office (662-915-7705) for more information about our support services.”

One way to help is to make a tax-deductible donation to the Rebel Relief Disaster Fund, which aids UM students who have been affected, said Barbara Russo, UM emergency management coordinator.

“It is in our nature to want to jump in and assist others during times like these,” Russo said. “But in reality, what the victims need right now is money because people have lost homes and have no housing, no place to store things if they wanted to. Organizations are already taking care of basic needs and then some.”

Funding is the most important asset to help victims in the wake of a storm like Harvey, Russo said.

“What they need is money to keep providing services and resources,” Russo said. “The majority of donated items in these events sadly end up in landfills.”

The Rebel Relief Disaster Fund was established in March in response to calls to assist others in times of disasters. The University of Mississippi Foundation administers the fund. Its sole purpose is to provide support for students who have been affected by recent unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters or other significant events.

“Our hearts go out to those affected by the storms and to those students whose families have been affected,” said Noel Wilkin, interim provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“The devastation causes all of us to stop and think about how quickly natural disasters can change our circumstances. This is even more difficult for those who have families in the affected areas.”

Affected students should check with the Office of Leadership and Advocacy to learn which resources and assistance are available.

Those who wish to give to the Rebel Relief Disaster Fund can click here and select ‘Other,’ then enter ‘Rebel Relief Disaster Fund’ in the comments section. Donors may also drop off or mail contributions to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

The American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other giving sites can be accessed at the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters website.

Staff Reports


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.