O’Fallon Central School District 104 students and staff are lending helping hands to Houston and victims of Hurricane Harvey by collecting personal diapers, hygiene and household items.
“The students are excited to bring in supplies to help others who have been devastated and lost everything to the hurricane,” said Dawn Elser, Central 104 superintendent.
Harvey made landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast late on Aug. 25 as a Category 4 hurricane. As Harvey lingered for days over Texas, it dumped massive amounts of rain. The most was recorded at Cedar Bayou, near Highlands, Texas, which received 51.88 inches. Houston Hobby Airport recorded 37.01 inches. Flooding was widespread and devastating.
Central Elementary School teacher Kayla Wright organized the drive after watching TV coverage of the conditions in Houston after Harvey hit.
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“It just broke my heart. I knew I wanted to do something, and I figured this would be a fabulous idea to expose the students to the conditions in Houston and show them how much these people are in need,” said Wright, who had just been teaching a unit in her class on natural disasters.
Wright set out on a mission. Soon after, her fourth-graders were on board, too. Then entire district got involved.
“Everyone is involved. Students from all grade levels, as well as teachers and staff members, have contributed to these donations,” Wright said.
They’ve dubbed their mission: “Helping Houston.”
“I commend Ms. Wright for taking the initiative to organize the Helping Houston drive,” said Elser.
The students have been so generous with their donations, Wright said.
“It makes my heart proud that our students want to give to those who are truly in need,” Jered Weh, Central Elementary principal, said.
“It is amazing to see,” she said. “We are collecting as many hygiene items as possible to send to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. We just started this project Aug. 30, and already we’ve collected 21 boxes of supplies to send with two big boxes of diapers.”
Wright said they are continuing collecting items through Friday, Sept. 15. Items being collected include: toothbrushes/toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, shampoo, hand sanitizer, diapers, cotton balls, cotton swabs, soap, socks, underwear, and towels.
As for transporting it to Houston, there is a company in Lebanon called Stock Transport Inc. that is sending trucks to Texas loaded with donated supplies from all over the metro-east.
“I will load our boxes on to these trucks and they will then get them to Houston rather than shipping them via mail,” she said.
For more information, the school is located at 309 Hartman Lane in O’Fallon, and can be reached at 618-632-6336. Donations can be turned into the office labeled “Helping Houston.”