Local children sending aide to Asia

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 7, 2005

Though they are worlds apart, children at Westside Elementary School are reaching out to the children in Asia who have and continue to suffer following the devastating tsunami.

“We’ve talked about giving and receiving. We talked about our Christmas presents and how lucky we are to have what we have,” second-grade teacher Dianne McNeill said. McNeill’s students discussed the tsunami and its affects, and decided they wanted to do something to help.

She said while the students don’t fully understand the situation in Asia, they know it’s bad.

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“We compared it to what Ivan did to Gulf Shores because they have seen that,” McNeill said. “Most of them have seen pictures or even been to Gulf Shores after the storm hit and they understand the damage that did, that’s something they can relate to.”

She and her students “brainstormed” Wednesday to come up with a list of things people in Asia might need. They came up with a list that included wash cloths, face towels, socks, toothpaste, toothbrush, Band-aids, water, stuffed animals, Germ-X, soap, flashlights and batteries, combs, hairbrushes, barrettes and Neosporin.

“We decided to put them in shoeboxes because the boxes don’t cost anything and we can pack them all in one box and send them where they need to go,” McNeill said. She said some students have brought in shoeboxes already, but said they need more.

“The ones who don’t have a shoebox, I’m going to get one for them,” she said. As for the supplies, one students has even gotten a head start on that, bringing in not only the shoebox, but items to fill it as well.

Eight-year-old Cotie Jordan is sending a soft, blue teddy bear, toothpaste, toothbrush, lip gloss, a candle and other items she thinks will brighten another child’s day.

“I just thought about it, I was thinking about what they might need and then there’s some things that I didn’t want, so I put that in there too,” she said.

The students have also made cards that will accompany the boxes, cards that send prayers and well wishes to children on the other side of the globe in hopes it will make them feel at least a little bit better.

McNeill said the project will go on for at least a week or two and said anyone wanting to contribute can do so by contacting the school at 289-0377.