The Columns

W&L Students Raise Funds to Help Area Families during Blizzard

— by on February 2nd, 2016

With the recent winter storm bearing down on Virginia, Washington and Lee University law student Alan Carrillo ‘18L wasn’t concerned with whether he had enough milk and bread on hand. His thoughts were focused on the area’s needy and how he and his fellow students could help.

On the Thursday before the storm, Carrillo, a first-year law student from Bedford, Texas, reached out to the Rockbridge Area Relief Association (RARA) to see what kind of help the organization might need. Staff there reported that their immediate need was to cover the hotel lodging costs for three homeless families that had contacted the organization for assistance.

Carrillo quickly set up a fundraising site at gofundme.com and reached out to his fellow students for help. In a matter of five hours, the site brought in over $1000 dollars, which covered the costs for a week’s stay in a motel for the three families.

“I was absolutely amazed not merely by the generosity of my fellow students, their friends and members of the local community, but also by the timeliness of their response,” said Carrillo. “They saw a need and an opportunity to help, and with no hesitation, they gave. In just five hours, we were able to serve our community in a simple, but intentional and tangible way.”

The fundraising site, available at https://www.gofundme.com/rockbridgerelief, is still operational. So far, 63 people have donated over $1200 to help RARA. The organization serves the Rockbridge area primarily as a food pantry, and Carrillo, who serves as the 1L representative to the Executive Committee, is urging the W&L community to continue to support RARA’s efforts.

“I’m so honored to be part of a W&L community that is full of kind, generous and responsive people that care enough to act and support organizations like RARA, who are on the front lines investing in our neighbors’ lives and wellbeing,” said Carrillo.

Kitty Brown, executive director of RARA, said she was most impressed by the caring shown by the students.

“Our staff and volunteers feel honored to have these young people partner with us,” she added.

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