York County schools helping Harvey relief effort
When Manchester resident Rachel Blouch noticed Bailey Coach Trailways taking in supplies for Hurricane Harvey victims at its West Market Street location last month, she said a question popped in her mind: Can schools help?
After talking with her daughter Carly, a 10th-grader at Northeastern High School, Blouch and her daughter reached out to district administrators about the idea.
Almost immediately, the district started collecting blankets, dog food, water and household supplies.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the school’s last day of collection before the latest Bailey truck departs for Texas, donations filled a 24-foot tractor-trailer, according to Blouch.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Sudden outpouring of support: Other York County schools also have been raising money and collecting supplies to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.
The efforts began just as many were beginning a new school year, and several districts are scrambling to get as many supplies to Houston and surrounding areas as possible.
“It’s so soon that (on-the-ground charities) don’t even have finalized plans yet (to collect supplies),” said Tracy Krum, Dover Area School District's acting superintendent.
She added the district is looking into efforts to “adopt a classroom” in Texas that needs supplies.
The district is collecting school supplies at Dover Elementary and Dover Intermediate schools and is coordinating with local trucking companies to deliver the supplies.
A Bailey delivery: Bailey Coach Trailways has been the primary choice for most schools hosting a drive in York County.
Northeastern, York City and Spring Grove school districts as well as Penn State York will fill Bailey coach vehicles that will head to Texas.
Spring Grove Superintendent David Renaut said students at Spring Grove Area High School are collecting toiletries to send via Bailey Coach.
Renaut notes the bus company’s founder, John Bailey, is a Spring Grove alumus and approached the district with the idea.
In addition to its material collection, Spring Grove also raised more than $1,700 that will be donated to a school district in Texas by way of a dress-down day for district staff.
“This district always reaches out generously to help others, whether it’s here or in Texas,” Renaut said.
Dan Puccio, associate director of student affairs at Penn State York, said he recalled the effects Hurricane Katrina had on his friends and family in his former home, New Orleans.
“If our Penn State York community can assist, even in a small way, I thought it was worth it for us to try,” he said in a news release from the campus.
York Suburban, South Western and West Shore have started similar fundraising efforts.
Most school districts collected through Wednesday, but Blouch said she would like to see the support continue.
"If Bailey will continue to send tractors (to Texas), I'll keep asking my brothers and sisters to donate," she said.
Regardless of district, Blouch said, the truckloads of supplies she sees at Bailey show that York countians are charitable, compassionate people.
“The community’s outpouring of support has been amazing," she said.