TORONTO -Pupils and students at Toronto High School have been helping those affected by Hurricane Sandy by collecting canned goods and school supplies to eventually be donated to the storm's victims.
The school's National Honor Society is spearheading the drive to provide some relief for the victims of the storm that decimated parts of New Jersey and New York in later October, according to Maureen Taggart, school principal and district communications coordinator.
"Our students (and pupils) were hearing about some of the people affected by the hurricane," said Taggart. "I think they were really affected by the children dislocated from school due to the damage done.
Mark J. Miller
HELPING OTHERS — Toronto High School students are helping to make Christmas brighter for the victims of Hurricane Sandy through collection of canned goods and school supplies. Those involved in the project include, from left, Brad Melville, Angelo DeCesare, Megan Payton, Jory Clapham and John Rodesh.
"That generated a lot of discussion - what if that happened here, or what if you went home, and everything was gone?" Taggart continued.
Seventh-grader Joey Clapham asked school officials if canned goods could be collected for the victims of the hurricane, said Taggart. The week before Thanksgiving pupils in grades sixth through eighth held a competition among classes to determine which could collect the most canned goods, she added.
"In three days we had more than 600 items brought in," Taggart said. "Our sixth-grade class brought in the most canned goods. They were rewarded with an extra gym class."
Taggart said the upper grades at the high school were inspired to begin collecting school supplies to be sent to victims, said Taggart.
"They began a campaign to collect school supplies," Taggart said. "They began after Thanksgiving and will continue through Christmas break. We're working with the Jefferson County Chapter of the American Red Cross to get the supplies and canned goods to those affected. I think some people don't understand there are still people recovering from this. It's moved off the media spotlight."
Taggart said the disaster affected pupils and students because disasters can happen anywhere - even in Jefferson County.
"My personal opinion is that getting the school back to normal will help students, pupils and their families return to some sense of normalcy," she said. "I'm also impressed with the compassion and empathy our students and pupils have shown. They always are motivated to help."
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)