Devastation, the loss of your home, water damage. Thinking about these in the same context could mean one thing: Hurricanes. On Aug. 3, Texas was hit with a devastating blow: Hurricane Harvey. Many people lost homes, valuables and countless other objects in the wake of this natural disaster. Then, on Aug. 30, Florida was hit with Irma, and just recently, on Sept. 16, Puerto Rico was hit with Hurricane Maria. Zenia McBride, art teacher at Park Junior High School, knew she had to do something to help.
“After watching it every night on the news, I knew I had to do something, so I could have donated $10, but I thought this was a perfect opportunity to get the students involved,” she said.
McBride, along with Gayle Prior, full time substitute and paraeducator, and Geri Pasieka, another paraeducator at Park Junior High School, organized the 10-day fundraiser.
“I announced it at a school assembly,” McBride said. “I gave them a date to come to the art room and we would have a meeting where we would talk about what we could do to raise money.”
For their fundraiser, the students and staff sold buttons embroidered with art stating “Park Loves Texas”, had a bake sale and kept water jugs around the school as donation bins. Collectively, they raised $2,000 through the American Red Cross.
“It was fabulous,” Prior said. “It was so cool to see the money coming in, and the kids, so many of them had such fabulous ideas. A lot of kids stepped up to take charge of the different programs and helped. There were even kids volunteering at lunch to sit at the tables [to sell buttons].”
Ana Amparan, a student at Park Junior High School, went out alone and asked 25 local businesses, including Cheesies, Trader Joe’s and Hot Dog Company, to allow the buttons to be sold in their businesses, McBride said.
“One day, while I was in the office, I had three girls come to me with a little container,” McBride said. “I was astonished. These girls went out and hand wove bracelets, and went out on their own and sold $180 worth just to help out. I was wowed.”
The money was donated to the American Red Cross, who will donate 90 cents out of every dollar to the victims of both Hurricane Harvey and Irma.
“With a hurricane, you have time to get out,” Prior said. “But that doesn’t mean you can uproot your house and take it with you. So, even if you got out safely, and got pets and important stuff out, to come back to, nothing, and I mean nothing, because of how far everything was under water, it’s terrible to see.”