LEWISVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – It was the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. A raging fire destroyed more than 1,500 homes near Bastrop, just east of Austin.
While helping families with the recovery will take months, a group of North Texas middle school students stepped up to lend their support.
Thursday was ‘loading day’ at Huffines Middle School in Lewisville.
Teachers, staff and 6th graders were all packing a pickup truck with supplies. But the supplies aren’t going to students in their own district, or even across town. The pens, pencils, folders, and backpacks are headed about 230 miles down south to Bastrop.
September wildfires in Bastrop killed two people, destroyed homes and charred 34,000 acres. The fires also displaced families. Among the possessions consumed by flames were school supplies for many children.
Referring to other Texas schoolchildren, Huffines 6th grader Jay Teamer said, “They lost everything, including clothes, and their games, and their stuff, and their supplies. And school just started recently for them.”
Huffines Middle School has an annual campaign to assist people in need. When the school learned how the Bastrop fires were keeping kids out of school — they knew they wanted to help.
“We talked to our students and our students thought this was a wonderful idea to help other students in the state of Texas,” explained 6th Grade Teacher Linda McCollum. Placing no limit on the type or number of supplies, kids in every classroom brought in donations.
Many students didn’t find it hard getting friends and family to help. “I said that we should probably donate because it’ll just help out, and more is good,” said 6th grader Madyson Deal.
And more really was good. The supplies will help the more than 1,300 students at Bastrop’s two middle schools. But, with more than 9,000 students throughout the Bastrop school district, much more help is needed.
The 6th graders in Lewisville say they’re pretty happy and know that they tried to make a positive impact.
“It feels good that not only do I care and just a couple of other people… but everyone cares,” 6th grader Emily Myers said proudly. “It just feels good that more people and more people want to help. As fellow Americans that’s what we should do.”
Administrators at Huffines Middle School hope to connect their students with the boys and girls in Bastrop via Skype in the near future.