Local schools partner to raise money for students impacted by hurricanes

By Mark Guydish - [email protected] | September 14th, 2017 9:29 pm - updated: 9:28 am.

Writing checks payable to your school district is usually onerous, not uplifting.

But now through Sept. 27, you can give money that will buy backpacks full of school supplies for children affected by the monster hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“At the end of the day, everybody wanted to do something,” Luzerne Intermediate Unit Executive Director Tony Grieco said of the effort. “We weren’t sure what exactly to do.”

Officials from districts within the LIU — a state agency that provides educational services to schools in Luzerne and Wyoming counties — hit upon the idea of the supply-laden backpacks, provided and distributed by a group called “Kits for Kidz.” That way, the districts have to accept cash donations only.

Each backpack is filled with grade-specific supplies. A $20 donation pays for one filled pack. Officials at the LIU involved with national education programs have been using contacts to learn which schools were hit hardest.

“We’re also working through a network called principal to principal,” Grieco said. That group has set up an Internet exchange through Google Docs that allows schools to post what they need.

It made sense, Grieco said, for schools here to raise money for schoolchildren in Texas impacted by Harvey and in Florida and Southeastern states hit by Irma.

Each district is running its own effort to raise money, Grieco said. Ideas discussed included a coloring contest for kids to raise awareness, special days for the students like dress down day, and bucket drives at football games.

When the drive is over, each district will write a single check to a fund the LIU has with The Luzerne Foundation, an agency that serves as an umbrella for numerous area non-profit efforts. A single check for all participating districts will then go to Kits for Kidz, Grieco said.

Any donation is welcome, big or small. Grieco said larger organizations have been contacted, including the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Participating school districts include Crestwood, Dallas, Greater Nanticoke Area, Hanover Area, Hazleton Area, Lake-Lehman, Northwest Area, Pittston Area, Tunkhannock Area, Wyoming Area, Wyoming Valley West and Wilkes-Barre Area, as well as the LIU, West Side Career and Technical Center, and Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center.

To donate through the LIU, make checks payable to the Luzerne Intermediate Unit Foundation and place in an envelope marked “Hurricane Fundraiser. ” Checks are being collected by Mary Joe Fulton at the LIU office, 358 Tioga Ave., Kingston, though Sept. 27.

Grieco noted donations can also be made online at http://luzfdn.org/cause-posts/we-got-your-back/

Goal is to stuff as many backpacks as possible

By Mark Guydish

[email protected]

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish