Hoosiers donating uniforms to police, schools in need after Hurricane Harvey

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Harvey left a path of devastation in Texas, Hoosiers keep stepping up to help lend a hand and provide a little more comfort in a tough time. One of the needs they’re helping meet is for police and school uniforms.

“The response was more than I could have ever dreamed,” said Jordan Rusk, the wife of a police officer in Friendswood, Texas.

Rusk said police were working so much during Hurricane Harvey that their uniforms, boots and equipment didn’t even have time to dry and some officers were losing their own homes as they worked to rescue others.

“Their flashlights had stopped working from being in the water, their handcuffs were starting to rust from being in the water and at this point they’re still working 12 hour shifts seven days a week,” she said.

So Rusk said she reached out to the Under the Shield Foundation through Facebook for help getting the word out. She said the response was immediate.

“We are all so connected, no matter what state we’re in we have this common ground and when we hear about a need we try to get together right away and fill that need,” said Autumn Sojka with the Indiana Police Wives Ministry.

Sojka said the project was brought to their attention through one of the police spouse organizations across the country they partner with.

Tuesday evening, they worked to prep surplus uniforms, including 100 pairs of pants, more than 30 shirts and a handful of jackets, from the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office to send to the police department in Friendswood, Texas.

“So often our law enforcement officers go in and see the most evil parts of the world that the rest of us can’t imagine so being able to as a ministry group and spouses of officers being able to be hope and light and truly be the hands and feet of Jesus is really important to us,” Sojka said.

Sojka said they’re also working to help deputies in Nueces County who lost their homes. She said October 5, Los Patios Mexican Restaurant in Danville will donate 10 percent of its revenue to the Indiana Police Wives Ministry, who will then donate it to help the deputies.

But the need also extends to school uniforms.

“It’s just a small way that we can help from Indiana to Houston,” said Emmi Perrin, a teacher at IPS Rousseau McClellan Montessori School 91.

Perrin said after a friend who is a counselor at a Houston area school shared through social media the need for uniforms and toiletries, the school stepped up to help. They collected 15 boxes of uniforms, five boxes of toiletries and $1,500 in part through a movie night held at the school.

“We got all these items and I really didn’t anticipate so much stuff coming in and then I was trying to problem solve how do we get this stuff down to Houston,” she said.

CBS4 helped get her in touch with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which is now helping her ship the donations. The museum itself collected thousands of pounds of school supplies and uniforms that will go to the Children’s Museum of Houston.

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