Small bodies, big hearts

Second-grade students at
Grant Elementary raise money to help hurricane victims in Florida
Friday, October 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:45 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Instead of just learning about the hurricanes that recently struck the East Coast, second-grade students at Grant Elementary School decided to help those hit hardest by the four storms.

Twenty-three students in Gail Underwood’s class raised $132.90 for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

The idea began after the students learned about the hurricanes — Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne — while reading “Time for Kids” magazine.

“We talked about how devastating it was and brainstormed ideas on how to help,” Underwood said.

Four groups made posters to advertise the fund-raiser. Students also decorated a coffee can that they used to collect donations from the entire school as well as friends and family.

“These guys were just the worker bees counting it all,” Underwood said.

The students raised the money between Sept. 19 and Sept. 27. The cash was then exchanged for a check at Boone County National Bank.

The students presented the check Thursday afternoon to Jutta Hopkins, executive director of the Boone County Chapter of the Red Cross. Hopkins thanked Underwood’s class and presented them with a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll for their efforts.

“The kids in Florida are going to thank you guys,” Hopkins said.

John Souza, a disaster mental health specialist for the Red Cross, told the students about the Red Cross and answered their questions. Souza recently traveled to Florida to help victims of Hurricane Charley.

“The Red Cross really appreciates people like you who care about us,” Souza told the students. “When you care about the Red Cross, you care about people.”

“It feeled good to raise money to help people,” said Josie Martin, 7. She and a fellow classmate went to other classes at Grant and talked about the hurricanes to help collect donations.

“The people in Florida will feel really good. I know that they want to go home,” Josie said.

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