COLUMBIA — Supplies lined each hall of Delta Chi fraternity's four-floor Turner Avenue apartment building Sunday morning, spilling over into smaller corridors and taking over an empty apartment building nearby.
The donations resulted from the fraternity's weeklong drive to aid the Joplin tornado relief effort. Sunday, three Delta Chi members — Treasurer Casey Berner, President Ryan Bueckendorf and Athletic Chair Tim Baker — drove to Joplin to drop off more than 10,000 collected items.
What started out as a Facebook event quickly turned into something much bigger. Delta Chi members said they weren't anticipating such an immense response from the community.
“We were not expecting this amount of stuff to come in,” Berner said. “Especially in the first two days, there were, I think, 5,000 different things.”
As only 10 of the 45 active fraternity members are living in the house this summer, the group of men had their work cut out for them.
“Everybody took an initiative to do what they could,” Berner said. “Everybody stepped up, whether it was sorting or counting or, just like this morning, helping out and moving things.”
The donations, everything including clothing, water, a Crock-Pot, a shelf and glassware, will be taken to the designated drop-off location at College Heights Christian Church in Joplin.
“We’re just doing this because we can," Berner said. “We’re fortunate enough to be still here and still have our homes and lives intact, so we're going to go down and help people who are, unfortunately, not in that current state.”
Members said they knew this drive was the best way for them to help Joplin residents.
“This was a simple thing that people could do,” Berner said. “This was a simple way people could help. So I think everybody took the initiative that they could to just help out in the best way they could.”
The men said that, more than anything, the drive proved Columbia is able to come together for a bigger cause.
“It brings faith to you about the community,” Baker said. “We can all get together and help out. The world’s not such a bad place.”