National Junior Honors Society students at Fulton Junior High in O’Fallon are looking for help in their “Stock the Trailer” effort to aid Hurricane Harvey survivors.
“There is still a great need for more donations so we can ‘Stock the Trailer’ to help the widespread damage in Port Aransas, Texas,” said Laura Derstine, eighth-grade teacher and NJHS sponsor.
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.
The donation drive started as a branch of the group’s focus, which is to help the community with service hours in and out of school.
“This is all student-driven, and the kids have been amazing,” Derstine said.
Stock Transport is sponsoring the truck and transport of the donations to Port Aransas.
Derstine said the kids were disappointed to learn their collection efforts had fallen short of what was needed, but they are determined to make it work.
“That’s kind of a lesson to the kids here — that after a few weeks victims and survivors of the tragic event are forgotten by most, but not by all. And these kids are proof. They aren’t giving up,” Derstine said.
Seeds of empathy
It all started when the students were watching their usual program, “CNN Student News,” and the aftermath of the hurricane was featured.
“So they started researching more and found on Facebook that Stock Transport would take truck trailers down if you could fill them,” Derstine said.
“The kids realized that people had moved on mentally,” but Stock Transport shared with them that there was still a huge need for help in the coastal areas like Port Aransas, Texas, Derstine said.
The students have had many thorough discussions together about what it would have been like for them if their middle school had been boarded up and damaged beyond belief from weather, Derstine said.
“It was interesting to witness the kids experience this level of empathy. It’s a huge lesson on compassion for these guys,” Derstine said.
Working for others
Derstine said that she and Jana Vasquez, a sixth-grade Fulton teacher and NJHS sponsor, were “in awe” of all the hard work the students clocked thus far.
“I mean, they’ve done all of this — the announcements, the collecting, the organizing by category. And even last Saturday they boxed, labeled and put everything on pallets themselves, and shrink-wrapped the pallet stacks, too. We were just floored by how much effort and positivity they all had,” Derstine said.
Unfortunately, no matter how much hard work they students put in, the trailer would be staying put until they could accrue more donations, she said.
“We are really pushing to spread the word for Friday and this coming week, because I know we don’t want to settle by stopping now,” Derstine said. “We’re hoping to get a response. The kids will be out front after school from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20 to help receive and load donations. They’re very excited.”
If people can’t make it Friday, the school will be open for donation drop-offs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, until the trailer is filled.
Students will be collecting cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, toiletries, diapers, baby food, non-perishable food and drinks, plastic totes with lids, garbage bags, school supplies, rubber and work gloves, dish and laundry detergent, flashlights, batteries, pet food and supplies, kitty litter, packing tape and duct tape.
Clothing will not be accepted.
For more information, call 618-628-0090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
At a glance
Donations are still needed to “Stock the Trailer” for Hurrican Harvey survivors in Port Aransas, Texas. This is a student-driven donation drive at Fulton Jr. High School by the National Jr. Honors Society students.
- Where: Fulton Jr. High School at 307 Kyle Road in O’Fallon
- When: From 3-5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 in front of the school (students will help upload donations); or, drop off at the school between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Contact Info: Call 618-628-0090 or email Laura Derstine at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jana Vasquez at email@example.com.