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Hinsdale Central students gather school supplies for Washington, Ill.

HINSDALE – It's been close to three weeks since tornadoes ravaged the city of Washington Ill., but in just two days time, Hinsdale Central High School collected close to 10,000 items worth of school supplies to donate to those in need.

During the storm, an estimated 1,000 homes suffered damage and countless items were lost, including school supplies for the students at Washington Community High School.

That's when Future Educators of America and the Students Assisting Students clubs at Hinsdale Central stepped in. Dawn Oler, a teacher at Hinsdale Central who runs the clubs, said she worked with others at the high school to reach out to Washington Community High School and find out what it needed.

"A lot of people in a lot of charities just send down what they think they need and they don't wait to see what the needs actually are," Oler said.

Oler said on Nov. 25, students had collected 12 "very large boxes" worth of donations and had to solicit help from other students because of all the support.

"Once we heard of that need, I felt that was a good thing for our students to help and participate with," she said.

This is just one of the several karma points the clubs have earned at Central. This year, the Students Assisting Students club will be participating in a "Caroling for Coats" program, which helps collect jackets to be distributed at Chicago area public schools.

"Last year we painted a school in the Harvey community on a Saturday, and so they're doing fundraisers again this year to paint another school," she said. "Students Assisting Students does things that really help other students in other schools and communities."

Retired Hinsdale Central teachers Dick Flesher and Skip Begley drove a Penske truck full of items down to Washington Community High School on Nov. 25. Oler said items collected after the truck left Nov. 25 were also delivered to the elementary school in Washington.

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By the numbers

Here are just a few examples of items collected for Washington Community High School:

275: Binders

6,200: Pens and pencils

650: Spiral notebooks

80: Backpacks

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