School organizes disaster relief drive in two days

Westover High School

April 21, 2011 8:34:09 PM PDT
Students at Westover High School in Fayetteville organize a relief drive for tornado victims in two days.

There were a lot of smiles, some for the first time since Saturday.

"It's unbelievable and thank you Cumberland County," Fayetteville resident Marcia Staples said.

Staples lives in the Cottonaide neighborhood off of Yadkin Road. Some homes in the neighborhood were obliterated and otheras heavily damaged.

Like many, the residents in the neighborhood lost most if not all of their clothes and home supplies. After seeing the damage Principal Shirley Gamble knew they had to do something.

"I knew we had to do something as a school community to help our parents and students," Gamble said.

Students and staff say they put the drive together -- from the planning to the collection, sorting and distribution of items between Tuesday and Thursday.

They helped others in the community and their own classmates, many of whom lost everything in the storm.

"We got donations from everyone around the community," Westover senior Jassmin Smith said. "Some of [the] students and teachers donated, outside organizations donated, some from local schools."

Donations filled the Westover Gym as residents left with arms full of clothes. Football and basketball players provided the muscles while teachers and workers from other schools in the area pitched in to help.

Volunteers, including a school board member, cooked and served hot meals for everyone. It was a gesture of love and compassion, something you can't learn in a classroom.

"One of the things we teach our kids is to be servants that serve the community," Teacher Assistant Waymon Smith said. "This is an ideal situation for them to do that. This is people helping people, community helping community."

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