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Helping hurricane victims in the holiday spirit

Harvey. Irma. Jose. Maria. These were the storms that struck the southern United States and Caribbean islands this past fall. Though the storms subsided, the damage is still affecting millions of lives. Maria, the most recent of the major hurricanes, resulted in a death toll of 55 and approximately $95 billion in damage costs, according to CNN.

One student, junior Jessica Caraos, took action to raise money to help the victims of Hurricane Maria.

“It was the day after Halloween, and I was walking around campus listening to Christmas music, and the song popped up on my playlist,” Caraos, an early childhood education major, said.

The song she heard on her playlist was the 1984 hit single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band-Aid. Band-Aid wrote the song to aid the victims of the 1983-1985 Ethiopian famine. Its famous chorus sings “Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again.”

Though the project stems from the love of a song, Caraos said she believes helping people is the best way to support the victims of Hurricane Maria.

“I am a lover of all things Christmas but also a lover of helping out people when I have the ability to,” Caraos said. “I thought about the history of the song, and thought about how cool it would be if I could get different student organizations to participate in an effort to raise money for victims of Hurricane Maria.”

With sponsorship from Residence Hall Association, her passion for helping others and her Christmas spirit, Caraos was motivated to put the project together. She is editing and organizing the project by herself.

“I will be filming the student organizations singing the different parts of the song, and compiling them into one video that flows together, where everyone is singing together,” Caraos said. “Filming will take place [Dec. 2 and 3] from 12 to 6 [p.m.], and I will be filming at different places around campus.”

Caraos said she plans to complete the project by the week of Dec. 4, just in time for the holiday season. She is also planning a viewing party on campus that will present the final version of the project. Those attending are suggested to donate $2.

“Once the video has been shown on campus, I plan on releasing the video on social media for people to share,” Caraos said. “All money that is collected from both the viewing party on campus and from social media fundraising will be donated to Hurricane Maria Victims through Red Cross.”