Thursday, January 05, 2012
Student Council furnishes Christmas 4 Kids
By JENNIFER NGUYEN
The E-F5 tornado that ran through the southwestern Missouri town of Joplin might have destroyed many of the town's businesses, schools, and homes, but there was one element of the town against the storm that was indestructible, almost untouchable. Yes, Joplin was not a very pretty sight after the raging winds of the May 22nd tornado took course through the town, but the spirit of Joplin, held deep inside each Joplin citizen, was still very much alive and in sustainable condition. When the heart of America seemed torn and in pieces, who was there to pick up the sections and patch them up again? The people. That's what took immediate action after the mere minutes of destruction.
Seconds after the treacherous clouds passed, Joplin citizens could be found scattered around the many disheveled neighborhoods helping, simply just helping. Helping collect personal items, helping treat injuries, basically helping with whatever needed to be done. Hearts seemed to reach out to other hearts as members of the town put others' needs before themselves. Neighbors helped neighbors, families helped families, and friends helped foes. People helped people that they didn't know, that they just met up the street. The list continues on and on. The sight of this functioning, of the progression of help being offered was incredible and tremendously heartwarming. Truth be told, this organization of helping is what dragged Joplin out of the destructed, mourning phase and into a more hopeful, rebuilding phase. All the help, including the huge help from out of city volunteers, made a huge impact. An impact that is still being made today due to the rebuilding of this once torn city.
While the impact is being made, what must not be forgotten is who is making the impact and who is contributing to it. Just as said before, volunteers contribute greatly to the impact, but they're not the only ones.
Different schools and organizations from all over the world have also been kindly generous in their donations of different items needed for Joplin's citizens and care. Joplin has not only received donations of money, but also clothes, toys, and many other things used in everyday life. Most importantly, Joplin has received a gift that can never be lost. Love. Joplin has received loads and loads of love, care, and kindness in the months that have passed since the disaster. But yet again, this is not all that has made the large impact. Citizens of Joplin of all ages and sizes came together as a community and did different tasks and certain small things that made all the difference. Together, these incredible people charged through the destruction and found buried beneath it, the true meaning of Joplin; a city that stands united as one even in the worst of time.
And that is honestly one hundred percent true. Even in their time of desperate need and sadness, Joplin stuck together and is continuing to do life-changing things for the benefits of others. This act of pure samaritanism is displayed in operations of charity through schools and city organizations, such as a program referred to as "Christmas 4 Kids" ran by the Joplin East Middle School Student Council and Joplin Fire Department.
"Christmas 4 Kids" is a program in which money is raised to buy toys for kids that are less fortunate. These toys are distributed to the children by the Joplin Fire Department, and the money is raised and used to buy toys by the East Middle School Student Council. Mr. Rocky Biggers, the student council sponsor, has been running this program ever since he first took charge of the student council, which would have been about fifteen years ago. Some past fundraisers for this event have been running concession stands for different after school activities, organizing car washes, working with corporate sponsors, and even just asking for donations for this charitable deed.
This year's student council, however, had to change some of the plans intended for the fundraising part of the cycle. Since East Middle School was demolished, or somewhat damaged during the tornado, the students and faculty were moved to a temporary building, former warehouse. The warehouse was designed to fit the school's needs, but sporting events are not held at the temporary building, meaning that concession stands are no longer available or needed. Much of the past student council's money came from working the concession stands, but since this was no longer a fundraising option, other ideas and projects had to be put into action in order to make up the money usually raised by the stands. Thankfully, a donation of nine hundred dollars was given to the student council from a hair salon in Texas. This money, along with what was raised from a student council sponsored dance and small fundraisers, helped buy tons of toys for tons of kids.
After all that has been done for Joplin, the East Middle School Student Council felt that it should give back to the community by continuing this heartfelt event. Since the tragic tornado, everything was handed to them, and they wanted to return the favor. One of Mr. Biggers' favorite parts of the event is watching the students shop for toys. He commented that they really take it to heart and try to stretch the dollar as far as they can to satisfy the many children counting on them for toys.
The impact made on these children is unknown for confidentiality reasons, but every year, the East Middle School Student Council can expect a phone call from the Joplin Fire Department asking them to continue this beneficial tradition. Not only does it benefit the children, but it benefits Joplin's community as a whole; because, what is Joplin without its people?