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District 58 schools pitch in to help central Illinois tornado victims

Published: Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 1:45 p.m. CDT

DOWNERS GROVE – When disaster struck central Illinois last month in the form of a devastating tornado, District 58 students and staff sprang into action.

Over the past few weeks, schools have participated in a variety of collection drives and fundraisers to help the tornado victims.

At Fairmount School, students made donations to wear hats in school for tornado and hurricane relief. A total of $620 was donated to the American Red Cross, earmarked for the recent disasters in Illinois and the Philippines, according to District 58. Henry Puffer School raised $150 with a donut hole breakfast, which was donated to the central Illinois chapter of the American Red Cross for tornado relief.

The Herrick Middle School Student Council is donating all the money raised at concessions during the next two weeks at basketball games to the victims of the tornado in Washington, Ill.

Several schools, including Belle Aire, Lester and El Sierra, collected items to bring to the “fill the bus” event in the Randall Park neighborhood, according to District 58. A total of seven Westway Coach school buses headed down to central Illinois filled with items donated by Downers Grove residents, and a full one and a quarter of those buses were filled with donations from El Sierra alone. El Sierra staff also is partaking in Jingle Jeans again this December, in which they can pay $1 each day to wear jeans for this month.

All proceeds will go the McCormick Foundation, which will match El Sierra’s donation and send 100 percent of the collection to the tornado victims in Washington, Ill.

“We are hoping to raise as much as we have in the past and have a near $300 donation,” said El Sierra fifth-grade teacher and student council sponsor Maura Davy.

The third-graders at Kingsley organized an all-school effort to collect items to donate to tornado victims. Kindergarten teacher Shar Sombeck’s family lives in Pekin, and she brought about 50 bags of donated items to Washington, Ill., during her visit to the area for Thanksgiving.

Whittier staff participated in a 5 for $5 campaign between Parent-Teacher Conferences and Thanksgiving break. Each staff member who donated at least $5 was able to wear jeans for five days, bringing in a total of $160. The student council donated $40, and Whittier’s total donation was matched at 50 percent by the McCormick Foundation.

“This meant we were able to contribute $300 to the Illinois tornado relief effort,” said Principal Michael Krugman.

In exchange for donations of cash, Belle Aire students got to wear a hat in school, and staff members got to wear jeans. The event raised more than $500, which was sent to the American Red Cross with 50 percent earmarked for Washington, Ill., and 50 percent earmarked for the Philippines.

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