Students give ‘heartfelt’ donation

Published 9:38 am Thursday, February 18, 2010

PENDLETON — A little heart can go a long way.

On Tuesday, that was the lesson the students of Willis Hare Elementary School learned as $1,000 they helped to raise was donated to the American Red Cross to provide disaster relief to Haiti.

Principal Barbara Stephenson with the help of Tiger Council Mayor Shaun Clark presented the check to Kristen Ward, Development Director with the Frederick E. Turnage Red Cross Chapter out of Rocky Mount that serves Northampton, Halifax, Nash and Edgecombe counties.

To coincide with Valentine’s Day, Stephenson came up with a Haiti fundraiser themed “Give from your Heart” and encouraged students, parents and staff members to donate to the cause.

Stephenson said being an advocate for children and “seeing all those little faces” on the news coverage inspired her to get a fundraiser up and going.

“I knew we couldn’t do it in a big way, but we wanted to do our part,” she said. “This is a school that not only cares about its own, but others as well.”

Stephenson said the fundraiser got the students excited about the act of giving, inspiring some to contribute their own money intended for snacks as well as asking their church to donate.

School Counselor Denise Eason Young said the school made their goal of $1,000.

“I did have one student reach in their pocket and pull out their snack money (to donate),” she said.

The school’s Tiger Council representatives shared their thoughts on their school pulling together to help Haiti.

“I know they had an earthquake and an aftershock,” said Clark on what he knew about the tragedy in Haiti. “They didn’t have a lot of money and a lot of people were hurt. (You should help) because they may help you back.”

Clark thanked his fellow classmates for raising $1,000 for the relief.

Another Tiger Council member, Monty Bridgers, said he feels sad for those who lost everything in the earthquake and it’s important to donate because it will help those in need.

“I’m really proud because that money will definitely help Haiti,” he said about his school’s donation.

In January, a 7.3 earthquake struck Haiti, already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and since that time the American Red Cross has spent or committed $80 million in relief with 69 percent going to provide clean drinking water and food, 20 percent to shelter and 11 percent to health and family services.

Ward said there is still a need for monetary donations and a little can go a long way.

“Everything helps,” she said.

Ward thanked Stephenson as well as the students from Willis Hare Elementary School for their donation.

“This is one of the highest donations received from an elementary school,” said Ward of the donation. “It’s good to see the children come together to help people that are suffering in a different country.”

The Turnage Chapter of the American Red Cross can be reached at (252) 977-1720.