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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Student donates 50 pizzas to tornado victims

Student+donates+50+pizzas+to+tornado+victims
Photo by Photo via KBTX
Student donates 50 pizzas to tornado victims

Fatal storms and tornadoes raged across Texas Saturday night, killing 11 people and stranding dozens of others in Garland and Rowlett, Texas. As victims with damaged or inaccessible homes took shelter in the storm’s aftermath, one Texas A&M student took it upon himself to make sure the displaced at least were able to get a hot meal.
Marketing junior and pizza hut employee Ryan Walton took to social media to raise enough money for 50 pizzas, reaching out first to fellow Texas A&M students and then to the general public.
Walton was working in the nearby Dallas area Saturday when he heard about the storms and tornadoes. Walton said he was keeping an eye on the weather because he was on delivery duty and wanted to stay safe.
“When I got home, I saw pictures from Rowlett on Twitter and figured I had to do something about it,” Walton said. “Rowlett looked like a warzone, it was pretty surreal. Roads blocked off, debris all over the place, and houses reduced to rubble. My family was affected badly by Katrina, so I can relate to that damage.”
Donating pizza seemed like a good option, Walton said, because he would be able to use his employee discount and could prepare and deliver the pizzas himself. Walton said he knew how much a hot meal can mean to people when they are staying in a shelter, and just wanted to do what he could to help. 
“I’m always telling my friends that there’s no need to travel the globe to help people because there’s plenty to be done here,” Walton said, “so I knew I had to help my local community and social media was a very effective way of involving others.”
Walton, a fish camp counselor, said he first reached out to his fish camp via group messages, asking for donations to help buy pizzas for the victims. Walton said after he got a decent response from his fellow counselors, he decided to also reach out to fellow members in his men’s organization, “Paradigm: Forging Model Men of Aggieland.” After that, Walton went further and took his endeavor public.
Walton posted a note to his Twitter reading: “Hey guys, if anyone wants to contribute, I’m gonna use my employee discount at Pizza Hut to buy pizzas to bring to first responders and shelters in Rowlett. If you want to contribute, just add me on Venmo and send me $1 or $2 dollars! … Any more I get beyond the cost of pizza I’m gonna use to buy water cases and blankets.” 
Walton said from there, the donations came pouring in and he was able to raise about $350.
“I expected a few bucks from friends, like maybe get me to $100,” Walton said. “I never expected to get up to $350, mostly from total strangers. The results destroyed my expectations. Aggies are something else.”
The pizzas came out to a total of $327, and Walton said the left over funds will be donated to the Red Cross. Walton said he encourages people to continue to donate to the Red Cross as they work with relief efforts.
“If anyone wants to help they should donate directly to the Red Cross on their website or text REDCROSS to 90999,” Walton said. 

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