Friday, September 23, 2005

Students reach out to South

Express Staff Writer

Front row, from left to right: Chaz Anderson, Shalako Morrell, Brittany Beaver, Sage Squerbrey and Carissa Alleman. Back row: Sam Schwab and Colter Seely.

A mature extension to help those in need arrived from Wood River Middle School students. Motivated to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of essential goods left the Hailey-based middle school for Mississippi last week.

"It was sad to think of all those people who had to go through all that and lose all of their stuff," eighth-grader Sam Schwab said.

Sam stepped forward to initiate an effort that will offer essential goods to hurricane victims.

After watching news broadcasts detailing the damage, Sam remembered the slew of sample goods at his father's office.

"(My Dad) had all these leftovers and nothing to do with them. I thought it would be a good idea," Sam said.

His father, Pat Schwab, agreed to donate the thousands of sample goods he had received.

With a donation from his father, Sam brought 125 cases of sample packages to school. The cases contained granola bars, soap, toothpaste, Rolaids and other goods, along with 10 cases of orange tea bags. In total, the goods amounted to 1,250 individual packages.

As the cases lined the middle school halls, approximately $3,000 was needed to ship the goods.

The fundraiser began as the idea of eighth-grade student Chaz Anderson, who wanted to raise at least $600 as a school. To date the middle school students have raised close to $700. The middle school students initiated bake sales and placed donation jars in the school to fund the costs of shipping.

A plan was in place to ship the goods to Montgomery Catholic High School in Montgomery, Ala., where students and parents had agreed to transport the goods to the Gulf Coast.

With distribution arrangements in place, the daunting financial hurdle remained.

The solution came with help from Levie Smith of Hailey and Shannon Orr of Ketchum. Orr's brothers David and Chris Orr, departed Sunday, Sept. 18, for Mississippi to help feed the evacuees and volunteers.

The brothers agreed to transport the middle school students' packages. In addition to the essential goods organized by the middle school, school supplies donated by Hemmingway Elementary students, and food, clothes, books, children's shoes and educational games were also loaded into the trucks.

The arrival value of the goods comes with further assistance for Hurricane Katrina victims.

The Wood River Middle School paired with Montgomery Catholic High School Principal Mary Starr Kelly, who arranged for the goods to be distributed by student teachers who are trained to help children with post-disaster behavior.

The items donated from the Wood River Valley will provide daily essentials, coupled with needed guidance and counseling.

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