Realizing Hurricane Harvey affected more than humans, students in the Mansfield ISD (MISD) joined together to help pets displaced by the powerful storm.
The project began with students in the agricultural science practicum class at Ben Barber Innovation Academy, but soon spread to high school campuses throughout the district.
“We wanted to make sure the animals are taken care of too. I love it because it brought the community together to help a common cause," senior Katelynn Timmerman said. "It feels really good to help out and make a difference - especially for a population who can’t speak for themselves.”
Not only did students promote the project in the MISD, they took to social media to get the word out. Using the hash-tag #HeartsOutToHarvey, they got their message all the way to the United Kingdom - and got a response.
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"We did have a lady who responded and asked to send money. However, we were unable to accept the monetary donations so we gave her the contact information of some of the reputable rescue groups, and she gave a monetary donation to them," said agricultural science teacher Kristi Chambliss.
While no monetary donations were sent, MISD spokesperson Boyd Hope said, "I don’t know if they actually counted, but there were dozens of pet supplies and food collected."
Community members also came through - and are being asked to continue to do so as folks and their animals on the Texas coast are likely to need help for some time to come.
Some area businesses have even offered discounts to help offset the cost, school officials said.
"Community members are still encouraged to send donations, and we will help make sure the supplies are delivered to an area of need," Chambliss said.
The MISD Rodeo Team also pitched in, sending feed and hay to livestock in the area.
Chambliss said this is the latest in a tradition of MISD students helping in time of need. She cited as an example the FFA hosting a Kids Against Hunger drive and a canned food drive.
"Honestly, MISD is a great district with many student organizations that have helped and organized many different projects," she said.
This project was not officially part of the district's overall drive, but the MISD has made a concerted effort to help Hurricane Harvey victims with a district-wide event.
Campuses and departments (including all elementary and middle schools) are collecting donations to send to the Salvation Army, which will then be sent to the Gulf Coast. Specific items asked for include cases of bottled water, cases of Gatorade, granola bars, new toothbrushes, new toothpaste, new and unopened disposable diapers, new and unopened baby wipes.
"Mansfield ISD steps up when our fellow Texans are in need," said school board president Raul Gonzalez. "At least one recent graduate has been deployed to the area with her Texas Tech-based Army National Guard unit. No doubt more former students are assisting our neighbors.
"I am very proud of the effort MISD is putting forth. Our fellow Texans would come to our aid as well should we be in need."