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Clothing drive to aid victims of hurricane
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Martinsville High School senior Camry Harris holds a flyer for the clothing drive he started for victims of Hurricane Sandy. (Contributed photo)

Monday, November 19, 2012

By KIM BUCK -

Martinsville High School is asking for the community’s help to provide victims of Hurricane Sandy with warm clothes this winter.

Through Nov. 30, MHS students will be collecting new or slightly worn, clean winter clothing for children and adults hit by the superstorm in New York City. Donations of sweatshirts, fleece pullovers, hoodies, gloves, hats, scarves or new thermal underwear in all sizes may be brought to the school office.

Senior Camry Harris came up with the idea for a clothing drive after seeing news reports of the devastation in the Northeast. Looking online, he said, “I saw all sorts of pictures. Seeing the water inside of people’s houses, it really hit the heart. I thought, ‘Is there anything I can do to help?’”

Harris proposed the service project to MHS Principal Aji Dixon and got two student groups on board to organize the effort: the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and CHILL, a student leadership organization devoted to healthy lifestyle choices.

“I’m truly proud of (Camry Harris) and the CHILL and HOSA organizations for trying to get this effort up and running,” Dixon said. “It shows that our students are really globally aware of what’s going on, and they obviously are concerned about their fellow man.”

The high school is using its connections with ASCD’s Whole Child Network to distribute the donations. ASCD is an international educational leadership organization based in Alexandria.

Martinsville High School and Albert Harris Elementary School were among 10 schools in the United States and Guam chosen for inclusion in the network this school year, starting a three-year process of professional development aimed at enhancing the schools’ efforts to meet students’ comprehensive needs.

New York City was chosen to receive the local clothing donations because one of the high school’s “sister schools” in the network is PS 9, an elementary school in Brooklyn.

At first, there was concern that the students there were affected by Hurricane Sandy, said HOSA adviser Marie Stone. Whole Child program manager Donna Snyder and ASCD staff helped Stone get in touch with the school to coordinate the effort.

While PS 9 students were not in the hardest-hit area, “they have had some staff members directly affected,” Stone said. PS 9 agreed to be the point of contact to distribute the locally collected clothing to those in need.

Stone said the ASCD staff seemed “very excited about this collaboration between us and PS 9. Hopefully it’ll be an ongoing partnership.”

Stone was concerned about how they would come up with the money to ship or transport the donations to New York. Solid Stone Fabrics in Martinsville agreed not only to donate the boxes for the donations, but to ship them to PS 9, which is “very generous,” she said.

“We are truly thankful for the support,” Dixon said of Solid Stone.

“It just seemed like it was the right thing to do. There are still people up there without power and folks who need help,” said Solid Stone owner David Stone. “I think it’s great that a group of students here in Martinsville is reaching out to their sister school. We were more than happy to partner with them and do our part.”

Marie Stone said she hopes the clothing drive helps keep the victims of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath in the public awareness. Even 18 days after the superstorm, news reports show there still are people in the Northeast without power or heat, and many more whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

“We’re just trying to collect as much (clothing) as we can,” Harris said. “I just hope what I do helps.”

(Kim Buck is the community outreach and grants coordinator for Martinsville Public Schools.)

 

 
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