Former NEPA Flooded School Helping Texas

Collection drive comes six years after 2011 flood

DURYEA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- Many of us feel helpless trying to help others in such dire need after a devastating hurricane hits. But some local students knew exactly what to do. They used their life lessons to offer help and hope

Forming a box brigade, Holy Rosary School 8th graders put their stacking skills to the test. The boxes contain napkins, paper towels and toilet paper bound for devastated parts of Texas. Those images from the Gulf Coast may have hit them just a little bit harder than many of us. 

"I felt like we weren't going to like be able to go back to school," said 8th grader Meghan McDonnell. When she and her classmates were just second graders, the nearby Lackawanna River inundated their school on Stephenson Street with more than six feet of water which significantly damaged the library, cafeteria, the preschool classroom and the art/music room. "We were absolutely devastated knowing we had to move," said 8th grade teacher Debbie Brady.

Drawing on their experience from six years ago, the 8th grade class decided to sponsor '"Fill The Truck" this weekend and collect a variety of essentials. When Holy Rosary School first considered the drive, they thought about collecting such things as pencils, planners and other supplies to donate to schools in hard-hit Houston. But knowing what they went through during the flood of 2011, they decided the drive should address the biggest need: cleanup.

Mrs. Brady said, "Before you can get back into the school and all, you need to get it cleaned up. So wherever they could use the supplies that's where we figured we would do the best work."

Students also rounded up personal grooming items and collected hundreds of dollars in cash. One of them, Lauren O'Brien, even wrote a poem to attach to the care packages that included the following passage: "It doesn't matter if it's shampoo or soap, it all gets donated with love and hope."

It's hope from those who experienced the same despair. Ms. O'Brien said, "I just wanted to make sure that they weren't scared like I was when my school was damaged so I just wanted to reassure them that everything will be fine." Mrs. Brady added, "Hopefully that will give them that little bit of lift that they need to get back on their feet."

"Fill The Truck" is happening this Saturday, Sept. 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Holy Rosary School. The school is asking for donations of bottle water, diapers, rubber gloves, buckets, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, toiletries, pet food, sponges, towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, hairbrushes and non-perishable food items. Anyone who wishes to help before then can drop off a donation during school hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


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