The Union Recorder

May 23, 2013

Eagle Ridge donates to Okla. tornado victims

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE —

With Eagle Ridge Elementary School’s recent $5,000 donation from Kroger, local students and educators were inspired to provide 10 percent of the funds to aid Oklahoma tornado victims.

Eagle Ridge was recognized for students’ achievements as the grand prize winner of Kroger’s Earning Plus Learning Educational Incentive Program. Placing first in the Atlanta Division, Eagle Ridge’s entry included a video highlighting how the school celebrates diversity, implements exercise into the day, promotes nutrition, encourages fair play and involvement with community activities.

“Last year we entered and we won $1,500 for our school. We used the funds for various things to help the school,” said Beverly Meeks, Project H.O.P.E. coordinator. “With this year’s award money, we will use some of it for field day T-shirts for every student and to help get an outdoor classroom started, which would be like an open pavilion. To start that, we need lots of labor, cement, lumber, metal roofing and volunteers to help. It would benefit the whole school where classes can have lessons outside, and students can have reading time. Since the money is for the school, we want to use it for something that the whole school can use.”

Project. H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everywhere), the school’s service project, is challenging students, educators and local families to donate funds. As of Wednesday, $175 was donated, totaling $675 for Oklahoma victims.

“Evan Hitchcock and other O.E. students came up with the idea to donate some of the Kroger money to Oklahoma City schools. We’ve been doing Project H.O.P.E. for five years now and these students want to reach out and help however they can; giving back is ingrained in them,” Meeks said. “It’s so reassuring when people want to give back and want to help. We just want to spread a little hope.”

Monday’s tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore destroying and damaging as many as 13,000 homes. Oklahoma Insurance Department spokesperson told The Associated Press Wednesday that the early monetary damage tally of $2 billion is based on visual assessments of the extensive disaster zone that stretches more than 17 miles. As of Wednesday afternoon, six adults remained unaccounted for since the tornado. A total of 24 people died in the deadly twister and 10 of those killed were children.

In response to the horrendous devastation, Jeff Mills, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA), sent an email to the Georgia School Boards Associations to provide an outlet for those wanting to help.

“Our heartfelt prayers and thoughts go out to the victims of the recent tornadoes. When members of our OSSBA family are hurting, we are all hurting,” Mills said in the email forwarded to Baldwin County School Superintendent Geneva Braziel. “We would like to offer an opportunity for those wishing to give to have an outlet to do so.”

Donations of school supplies, including paper, crayons, markers, glue, backpacks, pens, pencils, rulers, binders, gym supplies, desks and computers can be mailed to the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, 2801 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite. 125, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105. Other needed supplies include canned goods, diapers, clothes, dog and cat food, work gloves, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, baby formula, soap, sunscreen, trash bags, insect spray, brooms and shovels. Monetary donations can be provided via checks made out to OSSBA Tornado Relief.

Monetary donations can be dropped off in the Eagle Ridge front office through Friday until noon.

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