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Press Release

Vista College’s Eight Campuses Join Together to Collect Supplies and Donations for Beaumont Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Vista College CEO Jim Tolbert rallied the campuses, drove the truck across the state to pick up the donations, and coordinated delivery by program directors to Beaumont

Beaumont, TX – September 22, 2017 – “Families pull together in time of need,” said Vista College CEO Jim Tolbert when Hurricane Harvey hit Beaumont, Texas, affecting many students and staff of the campus. Tolbert immediately rallied the support of all eight of Vista College’s campuses to begin raising funds and collecting items that could be delivered to Vista’s Beaumont location to serve students, staff, alumni, and the community.  Renting a 26ft. U-HAUL truck, Tolbert rallied the campuses throughout Texas, Arkansas, and New Mexico to central meeting points in Texas, where he picked up the items of food, toiletries, water, diapers and clothing. Once the donations were loaded, he drove the truck to College Station where, on Wednesday, September 6, a team of program directors drove them to the Beaumont Vista College Campus.

Many of Vista’s Beaumont students were a part of a mandatory evacuation issued by the city due to rising water, and some are still living in shelters or hotels throughout Texas.  Several were rescued by the National Guard or the Cajun Navy and transported to shelters for safety.

“One of our staff members, who evacuated, lost her entire home due to rising waters,” said Stephanie Ross, campus director, Vista College Beaumont.  “She is living with family and friends until her home is repaired, which will likely take several months. Many of the local Vista staff and faculty have rallied together to assist in the cleanup and repair of her home.   She, along with the students and community members we served, were so appreciative of the donations and especially grateful for the emotional support they received during this unbelievable devastation.”

“The outpouring of appreciation from the recipients has just been incredible,” said Tolbert. “We thank each and every campus and the community members who donated to this incredible cause.  Unfortunately, our work is not over. Many of our students are displaced, don’t have transportation, or are dealing with many other devastating issues. It is my understanding that all items have now been distributed, but we continue to collect funds to support these residents of Beaumont.”

Vista College has raised over $10,000, and continues to collect to help those in need via paypal.

“We are working to determine how best to utilize these funds, and the Beaumont campus is conducting a survey to assess needs of the students,” said Tolbert.  We may buy needed items, provide meals or provide gift cards.  One thing is certain – Beaumont is going to take a long time to recover from this.  I have encouraged our Vista campus communities to continue to raise funds to help our family in Beaumont.”

The Beaumont Vista College Campus, located at 3871 Stagg Dr. #194, served over 300 people and partnered with Antioch Baptist Church as an extension of their donation distribution center.

“I think I speak for the all of Vista’s campuses when I say what an inspiration our CEO Jim Tolbert has been throughout this devastating time in so many people’s lives,” said Stephanie Ross, campus director, Vista College Beaumont. “His hands-on approach in coordinating the donation efforts among all the campuses and his journey across the state with a loaded 26ft. U-Haul, filled to capacity, is appreciated by everyone. We are so grateful to those who donated so many wonderful items – so many that Mr. Tolbert experienced a couple of flat tires along the way!  The need here is devastating, and it will take Beaumont a long time to recover, but we feel blessed to have so many people reaching out and helping each other.”

Classes resumed at Vista College Beaumont on Monday, September 18.

“We hope to bring back some sort of normalcy to our students’ lives with the start of classes, and we will continue to help our campus family in every way we can,” added Ross.  “On behalf of the students and staff here in Beaumont, we want to express our most heartfelt thanks to our friends, colleagues, family, and business associates who welcomed the chance to help those in need and continue to support those whose lives have been turned upside down.”

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