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Bluefield Students Raise Funds to Help Grundy Residents After Flooding

Student-led donation effort raised support after disastrous flooding

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When natural disasters occur, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by wanting to do something but not knowing where to start. But recently one college student took one small step that made a huge difference to a lot of people.

Last week, the small town of Grundy, VA, was ravaged by flooding, leaving some people homeless and some missing. John Justus, a student at Bluefield University, is from the town of Grundy—as are three other current Bluefield students. Justus emailed David Olive, president of Bluefield, to express his deep concern for the people in his hometown and to ask if the university might come together in some way to help those affected by the disaster.

“It truly breaks my heart to see neighbors and family members suffering,” wrote Justus, and he explained further that he wanted to organize an effort to pray and show support for the people of Grundy, many of whom had significant damage to their homes and property. He had collected the names of several organizations that were accepting donations, and he shared those with Olive.

On August 31, the same day Justus sent that email, Olive replied and took action, sending a mass email to the entire Bluefield community asking for prayer and financial contributions. Bluefield staff set up a giving link on their website to make donating simple. Students and faculty responded quickly, and on September 4—just a few days later—Olive delivered a check to Grundy Baptist Church, which is designated as the Red Cross Emergency Shelter, for $2,915!

Olive explained that until Justus emailed him about the needs in the Grundy community, he hadn’t been aware at all of the flooding disaster there. But that one message from a student, followed by quick actions of the staff and others, resulted in a big community effort to help others. “The campus community responded generously and in such a miraculous way, and within just a few days, to help those who have been impacted by the recent flood,” commented Olive. “Our students are amazing, and they have huge hearts for their ‘neighbor.’”