Students help send donations to Samoa

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

Henry Tuli, an American Samoan from Burley, Idaho, is on his way to Utah with a midsize U-Haul packed to the brim with medical supplies, clothing, tents and basic necessities.

It’s everything the Samoa Relief Wave is asking for. According to the coalition’s website, its goal is to collect donations for families affected by last week’s deadly tsunami. Now, they’re waiting to hear back from a man in Brigham City who has filled the bed of a truck with textbooks.

Tuli said he decided to drive to Utah with the donations he collected from his community to join U students who will be helping Samoa Relief Wave collect and package its donations today.

The U Pacific Islander Student Association is collecting clothing, school supplies and money to give to Samoa Relief Wave today in a big lump sum.

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” said Senerita Auva’a, spokeswoman for the Samoa Relief Wave, while ring tones went off around her.

Students have been collecting donations and money for the Samoa Relief Wave all week. PISA set up bins across campus and started collecting money in an empty water jug Wednesday. They are also selling white leis for $10 each. All of the donations will be sent to relief efforts for the Samoan islands. Students interested in donating can drop off money, new clothing or medical supplies at the U Center for Ethnic Students Affairs from now until Friday afternoon.

Twenty-two students and at least one staff member lost family and friends in the disaster. In times such as these, Pacific Islander students stay strong by sticking together, said David Kinikini, a graduate student and PISA adviser who lost three nieces and a nephew.

The Samoa Relief Wave will collect the donations at the Taylorsville City Hall today starting at 6 a.m. until late in the afternoon. Auva’a said she isn’t sure if they’ll actually be able to fit everything they’ve received so far inside the two 52-foot trucks that Godfrey Trucking donated for them to use.

The relief efforts need volunteers to assist in receiving, sorting and packing the donated items. They need about 100 volunteers at city hall today, Auva’a said. So far, about half of that number is coming for sure, she said.

The donations will be shipped to the Samoan Islands on Saturday.

[email protected]