Kids put caring into action to help West

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A group of students at Keller-Harvel Elementary School are working hard to help people impacted by the explosion in West.

About a dozen kids, with some help from parents, have organized several lemonade stands and a garage sale over the past few weeks.

“I saw the explosion on TV and wanted to know how we could help,” said Aidan Connors, a fourth-grader.

The April 17 explosion of the fertilizer plant in West killed 14 people, injured hundreds and damaged or destroyed about 70 homes.

Aidan and his friends decided to have a lemonade stand. Aidan’s mom, Cadie Connors, suggested they have more than one. So far, the group has raised more than $1,800 through three lemonade stands, one combined with a garage sale, and online donations.

Aidan’s brother, third-grader Collin Connors, said a man gave him a $100 bill at one of the lemonade stands.

“We gave him the lemonade, and he gave us a dollar at first. Then he started to walk away and tasted it. He said, ‘This lemonade is so good,’ and he gave us $100,” Collin said.

Students have worked hard to make signs, hang them, sell lemonade and collect money. The group includes several first graders in addition to third- and fourth-grade kids.

Cadie Connors thought that the project would have more meaning for the kids if their money went to help a few specific people. She contacted a few churches in West and heard back from the Catholic Church that an elderly man and two widows who had been living in the nursing home that was destroyed could use some assistance.

Joe Cappelli, a fourth grader, said, “It just feels really good to help out these people and to pray for all the people who lost their homes.”

A group of parents decided to take the students and whatever donations they raise to West on the day after school lets out for the summer. They plan to deliver checks to the three senior citizens and take lunch and another donation to the volunteer fire department.

Cadie Connors said, “I think it will be really important for the kids to see the fruits of their labor.”

Fourth grader Jacob Simmons said, “I can’t wait to see West, Texas, restored and for everyone to have a home back. I’m really looking forward to when we give them the money.”

The kids will have a lemonade stand after school on May 22 on Keller Smithfield Road North at Limestone Creek Drive. Donations can also be made online: For more information, contact Cadie Connors at

The lemonade stand kids are not the only Keller-Harvel students who wanted to do something to help people in West. First grader Anabela Cardenas started a coin drive at the school which has raised more than $450.

“It feels good to help others,” Anabela said.

Keller-Harvel Principal Kristen Eriksen said, “We have an amazing community here. The kids are very excited to help. As soon as the tragedy happened, it was an immediate reaction on their part.”

Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland

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