Even though he’s 450 miles from his Panhandle home, UCF student Tyler Wright wanted to help the residents who recently experienced storm flooding that destroyed houses, washed out roads and floated away cars.

Wright, a senior finance major, and some friends organized a drive seeking clothing, toiletries and other items needed by the displaced families of Pensacola, Gulf Breeze and other cities.

When the trailer pulled out Thursday morning from UCF headed to the Panhandle, the campaign sent off more than 800 pounds of clothes, 550 toiletry items, and 150 household items. An additional $600 in donations was collected.  

The items were to be delivered to the Salvation Army in Pensacola to distribute, and the money given to the American Red Cross for disbursement. Wright’s father drove the trailer full of items back to northwest Florida.

“Many of my friends have lost their homes and are living in the Salvation Army. They have nothing and are having to start over,” he said. “It’s still extremely flooded even a week later.”

About 1,200 homes were destroyed or damaged so badly that they’re not habitable.

The items were collected at the Sigma Chi and Kappa Kappa Gamma houses on campus.

“It’s seven hours away, but I can still make an impact on my hometown in its time of need,” Wright said.