Great minds think alike in the McDuffie County School system, and they're bringing their ideas together to help victims of hurricane Katrina. The Kids To Kids Campaign began Monday, and will continue through Friday, Sept. 23. During the campaign, students in the McDuffie County Schools will bring items especially for children who were devastated by Katrina.
The idea for the campaign came to Mike Love, McDuffie County School Board member, when he was watching television footage of the hurricane damage. Mr. Love said he saw children playing with cardboard boxes, and he couldn't get the image out of his mind.
"Our children are very fortunate, and I wanted our children to do something for those children. They have nothing anymore. Anything is better than nothing," Mr. Love said.
The same time Mr. Love contacted school board members and principals to begin the campaign; Claude Powell, principal of Thomson Middle School, received letters from two of his pupils.
Mr. Powell said eighth grader Ashley Brown and seventh grader Savannah Husk each wrote him a separate letter requesting that their school collect donations for hurricane victims.
"In her letter, (Ashley) said she saw the devastation on TV, and she said it made her realize how blessed she is to live in an area away from the destruction, and she wanted to do something," Mr. Powell said. "You know, usually you don't think about your water until your well runs dry. Well, these kids never cease to amaze me with their concern and beliefs that they need to assist people in need."
Ashley said she wrote the letter after she saw a drop-off location for donations in Augusta advertised in the news on television.
"It was terrible, those people all lost their homes, they lost everything," Ashley said. "I thought if they could take donations in Augusta, then we could take them here."
Mike Love first intended the campaign to collect child-related items, such as toys, stuffed animals, and school supplies. Mr. Powell said the pupils have expressed other concerns. They realize that the basic necessities of food and water are most important. He said some have even suggested bringing pet food so the children can take care of their pets.
Savannah expressed concern of the basic necessities in her letter to Mr. Powell. Savannah specifically asked for a canned food drive, after she learned of extended family members in North Carolina who drove a truck load of canned items to Mississippi.
"He (Mr. Powell) always has canned food drives for everything, and I noticed we hadn't started on yet, so I thought we should do one here, because everybody has to eat," Savannah said.
Mike Love said he is in contact with people in Mississippi, locating an area to deliver the items, and a school system for McDuffie to adopt.
"If nothing else, we can give them support over the next couple of years, because this is not something that is going to end in the next couple of weeks," he said. "Our kids want to do stuff, and at that age it's kind of hard to know what to do. This will teach them to help others, and I think it's going to affect our school system all the way through."
Lynn Cato, assistant principal at Thomson High School, said some physical education teachers are offering extra credit to students who participate in the campaign. Mrs. Cato said one senior, Eunisha Brown, has taken on the campaign as a service project.
Eunisha set up a display inside the entrance of the high school, and stands there each morning and greets students, accepts their donations, and maintains the display case.
Mr. Love said the community is invited to bring donations also. Items may be brought to any McDuffie County School or to the school board office. Other drop-off locations are First Bank in Thomson, all three branches of Regions Bank, Sears in the Bi-Lo shopping center, any school, and The McDuffie Mirror. Call Mike Love at 986-4099 ext. 5015 or Robin Browning at 986-4099 ext. 4032.
"We just want to show them we care. If something happened to us, and we were in that situation, I'd want them to do it for us," Ashley said.