February 20, 2010 9:03:00 PM
A simple e-mail started it all.
Kathy Cadden of Operation Ukraine notified Beth Lucas of Heritage Academy about the organization''s dire need, as she worked to collect supplies to aid those affected by the Haitian earthquake.
The devastating earthquake on Jan. 12 left an estimated 200,000 dead and 1.2 million refugees. So relief efforts have become a common action.
Heritage Academy students -- who throughout the years have helped with recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean Tsunami -- were ready for the challenge.
"We wanted to help, and she (Cadden) sent over a list of items she needed," Lucas said, noting the students at Heritage are very giving.
"Our kids like to help in any way they can," Lucas commented. And the schools'' students and parents came though again.
The school notified students of the items needed, such as toothbrushes, 3- to 4-inch flashlights and Neosporin.
"We conducted a three-day blitz from Wednesday to Friday (Jan. 27-29). Teachers encouraged students to bring items, and daily intercom announcements were made to remind the students about the event. We strived for success."
After three days of non-stop collection, Heritage Academy had collected 5,000 items and $543.50 in cash. Heritage high school and elementary students contributed not only their money, but their time as well.
"Several students visited the distribution center and volunteered there," Lucas said.
Boyd Lemmers was one student who went above and beyond to help.
"Boyd spent over 13 hours at the center. Other students spent about four hours, but Boyd contributed most of his time," Lucas said.
"The basic reason why I volunteered to help with this particular project is because I thought that volunteering and physically helping pack food, medical supplies and other materials for Haiti would help the people faster and more sufficiently than just by sending money alone," said Boyd, a senior and the son of Lex and Tanya Lemmers of Columbus.
TV coverage of the tragedy unfolding in Haiti "made a huge impact" on Boyd, who added, "By volunteering I was able to contribute indirectly to the people of Haiti."
"The students and faculty really worked hard," added Lucas.
Operation Ukraine is still collecting donations for those affected by the earthquake.
To help, contact Kathy Cadden at 662-386-3392.
Items needed include but are not limited to metal teaspoons, toothbrushes and toothpaste, small flashlights, Neosporin and clothesline rope. Monetary donations are also being accepted.