Emily and I have been friends since Bid Day 2010. I know we have our first photo together somewhere – we ended up right next to each other cheering in a huge crowd of girls who accepted Phi Mu bids that day. Even as alumnae, we talk nearly every single day – sometimes about TV and pop culture, sometimes about community events we’re working on or sharing articles on current events. In the aftermath of being impacted by Hurricane Laura, Emily was one of the first people I knew I could count on to help. A lifelong resident of New Orleans who rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, Emily is no stranger to navigating the post-disaster recovery process.
Because I evacuated to Ruston, Louisiana – where the storm still came through as a Category 1 – I had no internet and very little cell phone service in the first 24 hours after the storm. Without hesitating, Emily began posting on social media and contacting our mutual friends to let everyone know that, while my home didn’t make it, I was okay.
Not long after this, one of the Alpha Lambda Chapter advisers, Marisol Yumet O’Neal, shared in our alumnae group that alumnae are eligible for emergency grant funds through Phi Mu Foundation. Emily immediately volunteered to get the application process started for me, and she and Marisol worked together to make sure they had all of the information needed to submit on my behalf.
Receiving a member assistance grant from Phi Mu Foundation made an enormous difference in how quickly I was able to get back on my feet. While I did have insurance, anyone who has had to go through a claims process knows that these things take time. Phi Mu Foundation came through quickly with much-needed support, support that I would not have been able to access without fellow alumnae helping me along the way.
In addition to Marisol and Emily helping with the grant process, sisters from all over the country sent an outpouring of support, including Amber Ball, a resident of Houston, TX, who was able to coordinate supply donations and deliver them to the area.
Thank you, Phi Mu Foundation!
Kaitlyn Gallegos is an alumna of the Alpha Lambda Chapter at Louisiana Tech University and a recipient of a Leona Hughes Hughes Heart and Hand Fund member assistance grant.