Hanahan Middle School and Berkeley County School District Send Supplies To Katrina Victims

***image1***In an outstanding effort to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Hanahan Middle School students have been working diligently on the "Book Bags for the Big Easy" project. The concept was created by the SLEUTHS Organization (Service Learning Extraordinaire United Teens Helping Society), a group of 8th grade students at the school, along with teacher, Carolyn Stewart. The group’s maxim, "To whom much has been given, much is required" is being lived as one sees the endless boxes and book bags that have been collected so far.

The students have been raising money and collecting supplies in order to reach their goal of delivering a minimum of 1,000 book bags filled with school supplies to students in New Orleans. In addition, students in the Berkeley County School District were asked to include notes and letters of encouragement inside the book bags with the hopes of developing a pen-pal relationship with other students. Student Stormey Kennon is exited to be a part of the project, "It’s cool to be in a club like this. It feels so good to help people I don’t know and have a relationship with them."

Since Sept. 1, students have been collecting money at area Wal-Mart stores and going door-to-door in their neighborhoods. Madison Blackwell, who is part of the SLEUTHS group, collected $116 from her neighbors in order to raise money to cover the cost of gas for the 53-foot truck that will deliver the supplies next week. In addition, students have organized a car wash and on-going candy sale to help meet their goals. Another student, Lauren Sparks, says she wouldn’t miss one fundraising event, "The work we’re doing is so important."

The supplies, including food, water, library books and recess equipment will be delivered to the town of Slidell, La., just outside of New Orleans. In that area alone, five of the schools were destroyed. One school however, St. Tammany Junior High, has been declared safe and will tentatively reopen on Oct. 3. Although the school building has been declared safe, everything below the watermark was destroyed, including furniture, books, instruments, and supplies. And, to make matter worse, St. Tammany Junior High principal Hannah Rucker reported that insurance wouldn’t begin to cover the loss since the damage was due to flooding.

To help outfit the school, the Berkeley County School District is opening the doors of its surplus warehouse to supply the school with student desks, teacher desks, bookcases, and filing cabinets. The furniture, along with the filled book bags for the students, will travel to Louisana next Thursday in a truck donated by Mason Dixon II and driven by Ronnie Shaw, who is also donating his time. Carolyn Stewart and her family will follow the truck to Slidell. "I want to personally deliver the donations and establish a continuing relationship with the students and teachers," Stewart said. "I also hope to get an idea of what other supplies the school is in need of so that we may continue this effort throughout the school year. Pictures and video will be taken and put into a PowerPoint presentation in order for us to show other schools throughout the country how everyone can help and make a difference."

Monetary donations and supplies for this trip will be collected through Thursday, Sept. 27; however, since this will be an ongoing partnership, more will be needed in the coming weeks. If you are interested in helping contact Carolyn Stewart at Hanahan Middle School at 820-3710.

Daniel Island Publishing

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