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Home News-Telegram News Middle Schoolers take Rachel’s Challenge to heart - gather toys for Hurricane Sandy's youngest victims

Middle Schoolers take Rachel’s Challenge to heart - gather toys for Hurricane Sandy's youngest victims

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    Two Sulphur Springs Middle School students took to heart Rachel’s Challenge to make a difference through acts of kindness to others. Because of Brianna Isham and Laura Caviness’ efforts, more than 300 toys are being sent to the East Coast to benefit the children impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

    Brianna Isham said she first read about the New York salon that is collecting toys to benefit children suffering the loss of homes and belongings as a result of Sandy while reading a magazine.
    “I saw it in a magazine, someone collecting money for people, in an ad. They use the money to buy toys,” Isham admitted. “I wanted to do something.”
    Isham was so moved and determined to help kids halfway across the country she’d never met, but who were experiencing hard time, that she mentioned the idea of collecting money at the middle school to fellow seventh grader Laura Caviness, who agreed to help her launch the project.
    “She told me about it and asked if I wanted to help her with it. I said sure,” Caviness noted.
    The two students also pitched the idea to the Rachel’s Challenge leaders at the school.
    “We are really excited about this!” said Coach Jeff Harris, who heads up the Rachel’s Challenge activities and group at Sulphur Springs Middle School. “Students have organized a toy drive ... students have raised money on their own and purchased new toys that are being sent to Staten Island — the most devastated area.”
    “We wrote letters to counselors and the principal to do this for Rachel’s Challenge. We talked to Coach Harris,” Isham noted. “It was announced and we talked about it. It was announced over announcements,” Isham said.
    Each student had an opportunity, if they so wished, to contribute to the Sandy Hurricane toy drive by giving funds to their advisory teacher.
    One student even took the idea further, buying boxes of candy canes, which he then sold for 50-cents per cane.
    “One kid bought a whole box of them from him,” Caviness noted. “I think the candy canes raised about $55.”
    The kids had until Wednesday to donate during their advisory period to the toy drive, Isham noted, adding that some students in advisory classes embraced the challenge to help other kids who lost most of their belongings, including their homes and toys, have a good Christmas. One advisory group contributed 85 toys.
    A small portion of funds will go toward postage to ship the toys to Staten Island. Additional funds raised after Wednesday’s toy drive deadline are being  donated to the American Red Cross to help with cleanup and recovery efforts.
    Amanda noted that one church in the community is also hosting a clothing drive to benefit disaster victims.
    “We’re hearing that some places still do not have electricity. We just feel really burdened to all help and collect to benefit them,” Caviness said.
    “We just hope they can have a really good Christmas. We hope this helps,” said Isham.
    The toy drive culminated in a pep rally Friday to recognize the effort and show the students the impact they’re having in the 300 plus toys their donations have helped to obtain for children, some who lost everything, as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
    “The toys are being shipped to a local business in Staten Island. The business will have Santa Claus give out the toys on Dec. 22,” said Harris.




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