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DSU Family Responds to Tornado Devastation

By April 12, 2023Community

CLEVELAND, Miss. — The DSU family has responded in many ways to the devastating tornado that caused widespread destruction in the south Delta last week.

Dr. Jana Donohoe, Chair of the Department of Social Work, is coordinating the volunteer efforts of the Social Work Club and took the first group of volunteers to Rolling Fork Monday, April 10. Dr. Todd Davis provided a trailer from the Outdoor Recreation department, and students from the club filled it with donated supplies and supplies from the Statesman’s Shelf Food Pantry. The Social Work Department has two students who live in Rolling Fork. “It really hit us close to home,” Donohoe said. “When I heard about the devastation the next morning, I was afraid for their lives.”

Social Work students (from left) Poppy Derhun, Amber Benson, Andrienna Jones and Jasmine Meeks

Donohoe said that the supplies were taken to the Humphreys County Supply Distribution Center at FBC Silver City, which is serving as a distribution point for the affected area. Donohoe plans to make more trips with volunteers in the coming weeks, based on what the coordinators in Rolling Fork say they need. She said, “We delivered a ton of food and supplies collected by BSW students and donated from the Statesman’s Shelf Food Pantry using the Outdoor Recreation Program’s van and trailer driven by Dr. Todd Davis.”

Participating faculty were Jana Donahoe, Todd Davis, Loretta Jackson and Victoria Peay. Participating BSW students were Poppy Derhun, Gramilla Fox, Laketia Norwood, Andrienna Jones, Eboni Jones, Dotijetta Fisher, Amber Benson, Jasmine Meeks, Shalandria Kince, Celeste Bachler, Hayden Flynn and Darren Mota.

Dr. Loretta Jackson (left) and Lekita Norwood organizing supplies

Donohoe said, “We unloaded the food, water, and supplies and volunteered to help organize the distribution center. It was a very meaningful day for everyone. We were all overwhelmed by the tornado’s destruction and the great needs that exist in that community. To offer a little help was a great joy and privilege despite the heartfelt emotions we felt by seeing the damage and talking with some of the people who are grieving such great losses. It felt good to try and make a difference through volunteering and by giving them some tangible things to meet their physical needs.”

BSW Volunteers at the Silver City Distribution Center

There is always room for more volunteers, Donohoe emphasized. “Any students not in the club who want to help out are welcome to join us,” she said. “They can contact me or Victoria Peay, the faculty sponsor of the social work club, for information on how to volunteer.” Donohoe may be reached via email at, and Peay at Students may also contact the Social Work secretary, Casey Lopez, by phone at 662-846-4407.

The Athletic Department has been accepting donations of supplies to fill trailers that they will deliver later this week. The trailer has been staged at various sporting events and will be delivered Thursday.