“It Hit Too Close To Home: Worldwide Relief for Typhoon Haiyan & The Washington Tornado From Local Elementary School and The American Red Cross”
Shortly after the news of the typhoon in the Philippines broke, W.J. Murphy Elementary School was buzzing about what could be done to help. “We are so proud of our students for immediately wanting to assist with the relief efforts,” said Co-Student Council advisor Frieda Kolas.
The motivation to help was also driven by a number of connections that Murphy has with the Philippines. One of the school’s custodians, whose grandson attends Murphy, was in the Philippines when the typhoon struck and two other staff members have family there.
“I am fortunate that my mother, my only immediate family left in the Philippines, was far away from the danger zone when the typhoon hit,” said teacher assistant, Ruel Apostol, “ However, I have close friends and relatives that were affected by the storm.” Computer assistant, Walter Pituc, also has family members in the country. “It feels weird living comfortably here in the US when such a terrible tragedy is unfolding in a homeland so far away,” he said.
In response, the Student Council planned a coin drive for the week of November 18th -22nd and the grade levels competed against each other to raise the most money. “Each day of the week students brought in different types of coins,” said co-Student Council advisor Katie Klingler, “First pennies, then nickels, then dimes, then quarters, and on Friday, dollar bills. The staff also joined the effort by paying $10 to wear jeans for the week.”
When the tornado struck Washington, IL on the 17th, everyone was in agreement that the fundraiser should also support that community as a number of staff had friends or family members affected by the devastation.
On the first day of the fundraiser over 15,000 pennies were contributed! By the end of the week the total was $2,362.36 and the fourth grade team won the competition by bringing in the most money. All contributions will be divided between the American Red Cross’ funds for the Typhoon Haiyan and the Washington tornado.
“The generosity of our students and parents is so amazing,” said Kolas, “It’s so gratifying to see a simple idea blossom into so much goodwill for so many.”