MOUNT VERNON — Victims of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma on May 20 have already been the recipients of assistance from numerous groups across the country. But one local youth wanted to make sure he could do his part in offering some help.
“I saw all the damage and how they were struggling and just thought ‘maybe if I could get some food and money down there it would help,’” said a humble Marshall Smith, a sixth-grader at Mount Vernon Middle School. Marshall spoke with school guidance counselor Ben Sanders about doing such a project, and the two got the ball rolling.
“He was a little worried he wasn’t going to be able to pull it off,” said his mother, Jill Smith, since there were only a few days left of school after the news of the tornado’s devastation. “We had hoped to get the elementary schools involved, too, but we just ran out of time.”
Fliers were handed out to students last week in each classroom to let them know about their chance to donate food or money toward the cause. A little bit of incentive offered for the students was that those bringing in at least two food items or $2 would have their name entered into a drawing for a Hibbett Sports gift card. Drawn as the winner of this $25 gift card Wednesday was Tyler Wyatt.
As of the last day of school on Wednesday, around 100 food items and $22 in cash had been collected with some donations still coming in. Contact was made with the local branches of The Salvation Army about having the donated food items shipped to the appropriate sources in Oklahoma and the American Red Cross about a monetary donation. These items were to be taken to the local chapters on Thursday to be sent to Oklahoma.
“It feels pretty good. I just wanted to help them,” said Marshall, who added he may want to take on another similar project in the future when there is a need.
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