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Schools collect money, supplies for earthquake victims

By Staff | Feb 6, 2010

Lee County schools have mobilized over the last three weeks to collect donations and aid for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
They are collecting cash, shoes, clothing, canned food, blankets and medical supplies — to name a few — that will eventually find their way to the devastated island nation. According to the school district’s communication department, some of the efforts are ongoing and some are completed.
Diplomat Elementary School collected 1,250 pairs of shoes and sent them to “She Sells Shoes,” a store that works with an organization called “Soles for Souls.” The students also collected $839.50 to ship the shoes to Haiti.
“We asked the students to bring in slightly used sneakers, shoes or flip-flops,” said Karen Grieco, a guidance counselor at Diplomat Elementary. “It cost approximately $5 for every 10 pair of shoes (to be shipped).”
Grieco said the school finished its collection drive last Friday and the items should be on their way to Haiti.
Students at Mariner Middle School will begin selling multicolored bracelets for $1 each through the school’s student government club. Principal Shelly Siriano said all of the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.
“Kids love those things and can’t get enough of them,” said Siriano.
Siriano told other organizers to make arrangements for re-ordering the bracelets because she believes they are going to be popular among students. She expects students to buy more than one of the bracelets.
Gulf Elementary held a three-day collection during the first week after the earthquake hit Haiti. Pat Calamela’s fifth grade class approached Principal Donnie Hopper with the idea of collecting money for the victims.
“I helped them create a flyer we sent home to all parents. They created student posters that were put up around the school to publicize what we were doing,” said Hopper.
Overall they raised $2,000 from donations brought in by students, which they presented to the American Red Cross.
“They (students) brought in change, dollars and checks and anything they could help us with,” said Hopper.
Each day the Gulf Elementary’s morning news program also gave updates about what was happening in Haiti so students knew what they were collecting donations for. Another teacher also created handmade flower pins for $1 each to collect even more money.
The school also began collecting clothes in partnership with Cape Christian Fellowship. Hopper said the church has its own airplane and brings shipments of donations to Haiti about once a week. The school is donating clothes from its lost-and-found bin and asking families to donate clothing they no longer want.
“We’ve been telling parents we will donate those to Goodwill anyway, so anything unclaimed we donated to the church, and periodically over the next two weeks we’re having people bring in clothes they have laying around,” said Hopper.