Thursday, May 26, 2011

State Department of Education starts tornado relief program for Joplin students

From a State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education news release:

“Missouri kids helping Missouri kids” is the theme of a statewide relief effort launched today by state education officials. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is inviting school personnel and students to quickly raise funds to aid the students in Joplin Public Schools who are severely affected by the tornado disaster.

Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro visited the Joplin area on Tuesday to extend support and assistance to officials at the Joplin Public Schools. Despite the gravity of the long-term recovery situation, the immediate safety and well-being of their students are the top priorities.

Local school officials said the greatest need is cash donations to provide assistance to their students.

“I cannot even tell you how much we need that,” said Kim Vann, communications director for Joplin Public Schools. The school district has a total enrollment of nearly 8,000 students, and nearly half of its student body lives in the affected area.

With money raised through the “Kids for Kids—Missouri Kids Helping Missouri Kids” fundraising campaign, Joplin school officials can facilitate the appropriate use of funds for their students’ needs, such as clothing, shoes, blankets, pillows and other personal items.

In January 2010, the Department organized a similar campaign that provided over 40,000 hygiene kits to kids in Haiti following a devastating earthquake.

“Now, it is time to help school kids in Joplin,” said Nicastro of the present humanitarian effort, which is much simpler and more direct. “If every student would donate $1, just imagine the amount of relief our nearly one million students across the state could provide.”

There is a great deal of interest within the educational community in helping Joplin, Nicastro said. She sent a message to school administrators late Tuesday afternoon encouraging their participation in this urgent relief effort. Many schools are still in session for a few more days. Others school officials may contact their patrons encouraging an organized or a direct way for students to lend support.

Monetary donations can be made directly to the school district. A special fund has been set up for tornado relief. Schools or families can make checks payable to Joplin Schools Tornado Relief Fund and mail to the attention of Kim Vann, Joplin Public Schools, North Middle School, 102 N. Gray Ave., Joplin, Mo. 64801.

For more information, visit or Joplin Public Schools’ website at

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