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Three Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences Occupational Therapy Students Join the HOPE Relief Visit to the Florida Keys


From left are Occupational Therapy Master’s students, Samantha Boesch, Sophia Brown, and Amanda Perry, standing in front of a taped garage in Big Pine Key

A nondenominational evangelical Christian organization named Samaritan’s Purse provides disaster relief to people around the world by giving hope to those in need. The Samaritan’s Purse mission aids, works, and assists families of the war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine.

A picture of the devastation of a home and the groundwork to rebuild.

A picture of the devastation of a home and the groundwork to rebuild.

After Hurricane Irma, three Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences occupational therapy (OT) master’s students—Samantha Boesch, Sophia Brown, and Amanda Perry—and members of Fort Lauderdale Calvary Chapel heard of an opportunity to bestow a great service to the people in the Florida Keys community who had suffered greatly from the hurricane’s destructive impact. By sharing love and delivering hope to others, the OT students and the Calvary members formed a team to help those requiring help in Big Pine Key, which was the hardest-hit area in the Florida Keys.


A picture of Hurricane Irma’s impact on a home and process of rebuilding.

When the group arrived in Big Pine Key, the participants witnessed miles of homes that were destroyed, along with many of the homeowners’ belongings sustaining significant water damage. Armed with a strategic plan, part of the team assisted homeowners by cleaning out their garages and sorting important belongings, while others helped with covering garages with tarp, tearing out drywall, and removing flooring to help prepare their lots for new homes. The team members also provided emotional and spiritual support to the homeowners and their families.

It was eye opening to see the destruction throughout all of the Keys and how it impacted the people who reside there. It is easy for students to get caught up in their everyday lives, so they were grateful to have the opportunity to travel to Big Pine Key to serve and to impact their gift to others.

For more information on current projects and how to help, visit