ONALASKA — When Hurricane Harvey devastated Hopkins Elementary in Victoria, Tex., Kayla Finco and Addie Lorenz knew they needed to help out.
The two fifth-grade students at Irving Pertzsch Elementary worked with their Library Media Center director Sarah Frie to adopt the school and are spending the month of October collecting books, school supplies and clothing to send to the students affected by the August hurricane. Harvey devastated Houston as well as a number of cities along the coast, including Victoria.
Frie shared photos of the school, Kayla and Addie said, which showed how bad the flooding was and how mold and other water damage had set in after the hurricane passed. The two pushed Frie to adopt Hopkins as a school in need and then began the work planning on how to help out.
“There was just so much damage,” Kayla said. “They don’t have a lot of supplies. Most of it got ruined in the flooding.”
Addie and Kayla, who both said they love to read, thought a good way to help out might be to donate books. A school needs books, they said, and Hopkins likely had to throw away or try and repair the books that were damaged in the flooding.
They also decided to collect school supplies, children’s clothing and monetary donations. Their efforts officially kicked off Oct. 2, with students and community members dropping off items through Oct. 20.
Along with reaching out to their classmates, Kayla and Addie also made posters that were given out to local businesses such as the local Toyota dealership and others. Each class has a donation box, and at the end of the fundraiser, the class with the most donations will get a pizza party Frie said.
Frie’s husband Bob works at Fastenal in Winona and the company donated boxes as well as using its own fleet of trucks to help deliver the collected supplies. By the middle of the campaign, Frie said the students had collected more than 47 boxes filled with donations.
“We are very thankful for them (Fastenal),” Frie said. “Books are heavy.”
Proceeds from the school’s Scholastic Book Fair also will be donated to the campaign, Frie said. Northern Hills Elementary and some other schools also have offered to donate their proceeds to the effort.
Kayla said she is excited to get updates from the school, which has been sending pictures of the recovery efforts. There are also plans to have a Skype meeting between the two schools in November after the fundraiser is over.
“It feels really great,” Addie said. “I am excited the Hopkins students will remember us for helping out after the hurricane.”
“It has been really fun,” Kayla added. “Once we got the idea, we were so excited to start. It has been fun to see the idea grow to the rest of the school and community.”