Pleasanton's Vintage Hills Elementary School families and students raised their hands earlier this month and filled a U-Haul truck with summer weight clothing to be shipped to Haiti.
Janel Sloan and Beth Louderback, both parents of Vintage Hills students, developed the "Raise Your Hand" program to bring used items to organizations in need. Following the format of the school's successful Go Green program and with the help of Vintage Hill's Student Leadership, Raise Your Hand encourages families to simplify their lives, clean out their homes of unwanted items and donate them to organizations that will reuse them.
When the earthquake struck Haiti, Sloan and Louderback knew who their first recipients would be. They contacted Sirona Cares, which teams with Sirona Fuels to provide economic, educational and medical support to communities in developing countries. Sirona Cares is coordinating humanitarian aid from Northern California to Haiti along with a massive food shipment to be taken aboard a C100 Coast Guard Cutter.
Throughout the first week of February, students brought their used clothing to their classrooms at Vintage Hills. On the final collection day, a crew of volunteers, including Michelle and Paul Lacourciere from Sirona Cares, worked side-by-side with students to sort and fold all of the clothes. Once the donated items were categorized by size and type, they were put into donated plastic bins and bags that were loaded onto the truck.
"Today, our hands reached all the way from Pleasanton to Haiti," said Sloan, "Everyone, whether they donated clothes, helped for ten minutes or three hours, or just encouraged someone in their efforts, made a difference in someone's life today."
Michelle Lacourciere, director of the Sirona Cares Foundation, said the clothes donated by the Vintage Hills school community will make a big difference to a lot of people. She told of a desperate email she received from a contact in Haiti, describing a man who walked three days from Port-au-Prince to arrive in Hinche with seven naked children. No one could help him because everyone in town had already given all they had to refugees. These clothes, she said, will go directly to people like this.
To help with Sirona Cares' efforts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the organization's blog at http://www.sironacaresblog.com/ for more information.