The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 28, 2013

Camanche Elementary students give back to community

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

---- — CAMANCHE — In the spirit of Thanksgiving, students and faculty at Camanche Elementary School are doing their part to give back to a family in need.

After an EF-4 tornado ripped through Washington, Ill., on Nov. 17, destroying much of the town and leaving families hopeless and homeless, Susan Reckman, a teacher at Camanche Elementary School, decided she wanted to do something to show her compassion for those effected by the deadly storm.

“The school has adopted a family from Washington who has lost everything,” Reckman said. “These people know nothing about this.”

With support from her fellow teachers and other faculty, Reckman began collecting spare change from students at the elementary school Friday, and has already collected more than $100 from those students.

In addition to the donation jar, Camanche elementary will host a bake sale at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6, for staff, faculty and students. Each baked good, provided by families of the school, will be sold for 50 cents apiece and all the proceeds will go to the family of four in Washington.

“When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, I had this idea to do a bake sale and we raised around $800 that we donated to the Red Cross,” Reckman said. “However, this time around, we are handling it all ourselves so all the money will go to this family.”

In order to begin the drive, Reckman’s daughter suggested the family to the school because of her connection through work. Both the mother of the family in Washington and Reckman’s daughter work for Rock Valley Physical Therapy, one in Clinton and the other in Washington.

“My daughter works at Rock Valley Physical Therapy in Clinton and the mom is a therapist at the Washington branch,” Reckman said. “So that is our connection with that; that’s how we selected a family.”

In an attempt to get students connected to the family they are helping, a photo was placed on the large water jug that kids have been tossing their spare change into, giving them a face to the purpose of their charity.

“Kids seem to have spare money all the time, and they are more apt to bring it when they know it’s for a good cause,” Camanche Elementary School principal Neil Gray said. “(They) are hearing about the family and the tornado, and I think they all know that it’s important to give.”

What better time to give than on Thanksgiving, Reckman said, and he hopes the donation drive and bake sale gives kids the warm feelings of generosity during the holiday season.

“We teach our students about character counts which talks about trust and community and although (the drive) is not directly related to the holiday season, there is always that type of feeling of around the holidays,” Reckman said.