Children helping children
In the wake of the historic flooding that destroyed many areas of West Virginia earlier this year, a group of local children set out to help the victims that were left without food, clothing and in some instances without homes.
“A lot of kids don’t have things like we do,” said Central Elementary fourth grader Gabe Stephens. “I wanted to help them because they don’t have the same opportunities or things we do.”
Stephens and his fellow members of the Hocking County Children’s Chorus wanted to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the storms and help ease their minds as they prepare for the upcoming school year.
“One of the main tenets of the Hocking County Children’s Chorus is to give back to the community that has so generously supported us through the years,” stated Therese Karnes, director of HCCC.
“I tell the children often that we are so blessed to have the support of our families, our friends, the people and businesses in Hocking County,” she added.
“The children and families in Clendenin, West Virginia, are just like us and they are hurting right now,” Karnes noted.
Hearing of the devastation, the children in the chorus decided they wanted to help somehow and came up with the idea of collecting school supplies for the children in Clendenin.
St. John Catholic School fourth-grader Laila Anderson said she was sad when she first heard of the flooding in West Virginia. “I just wanted to help them because it’s sad that this happened,” she said.
Ava Begley, a fourth grader from Union Furnace Elementary, said she felt the same and was very sad when her parents told her of the devastation in our neighboring state.
With the choristers wanting to come together and help children in West Virginia, Karnes contacted a local resident who grew up in Clendenin — Lynn Anderson.
Anderson has been traveling back and forth throughout the summer months — working with her former neighbors to help cleanup the mud and save whatever could be salvaged.
She noted that the residents of Clendenin are in dire need of building materials and everyday household items as they try to rebuild their lives.
According to Anderson, thousands of homes were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair after severe storms rolled through Southeastern West Virginia in June, leaving in its wake some of the worst damage seen in the state in years.
“In this little town, the gas station is gone; the grocery store is gone; any eating establishments are gone; the post office is gone; the bank is gone; the funeral home is gone,” explained Anderson. “Others — I don’t know if they’ll be permanently condemned at this point, but you can’t work out of them.
“At the post office, the water was up to the roof. The bank — the water was at least halfway up the Prst story. It is so hard to imagine.”
With this in mind and school just around the corner, the children from HCCC decided to hold a back-to-school drive to collect school supplies such as crayons, notebooks, pencils, etc. Some suggested doing extra chores around their homes and use their earnings to purchase supplies.
“When they are doing their back-to-school shopping, they can think of these children who have nothing but the clothes on their backs and buy a few things for them as well,” Karnes continued.
The back-to-school supply drive will continue through Monday, Aug. 8 and anyone who would like to donate can do so by dropping the school supplies off at Logan Insurance, 63 S. Market St.; Tansky Motors, 297 E. Main St.; or Insea Sound Shop, 17616 Haydenville Road.
Not only is the chorus collecting school supplies, but they are also donating 75 to 80 two-by-six boards they have in a storage unit to help rebuild homes.
For more information or to donate, contact Karnes at email@example.com.