Even though Macks Creek sits almost 400 miles away from Moore, Okla., Macks Creek High school students jumped at the chance to help their far away neighbors.
When a two-mile wide EF5 tornado ripped through Oklahoma on May 20, it devastated parts of the state especially the town of Moore.
"We all know people from Oklahoma and all of us were somehow affected by this tragedy. Most of us have family in Joplin and know how devastating an event like this is. Four of us have direct family in Oklahoma, another has a family they are good friends with in Moore and we want to do whatever we can for the victims," National Honor Society sponsor Leslie Smith said. "Everyone who lives here know the terror of a tornado and a lot of us have experienced one or know someone who has. We understand the fear those people felt. It is especially tragic because it hit two elementary schools. We a small K-12 school so the little kids here are a big part of our lives every day. Our hearts go out to them."
Some may expect high school students in Missouri to feel disconnected from the Moore disaster, but that could not be farther from reality.
"My first thoughts were how horrible it was for the families affected," NHS Secretary and junior Miranda Collins said.
The National Honor Society Chapter at Macks Creek High School had saved $1,500 and were planning a fall field trip until they decided to use their money to help others instead.
"Our plan for the money was to take an overnight trip to Kansas City and go to a First Friday art night and then to the Renaissance Fair the next day this fall. In light of a tragedy like this, though, the kids thought that seemed so selfish. The minute I asked how much they wanted to give, I expected them to say a few hundred dollars," Smith said. "Instead, Miranda immediately said, 'give them everything!' To my surprise, every kid there jumped in and agreed. I was so proud I nearly cried. We ended up donating $1,000 to Convoy of Hope. We like that fact they they are local and use their money so wisely. "
The money had been raised throughout the year through fundraisers and soda machine sales. NHS has a history of giving back. They sponsor four blood drives a year, help the Salvation Army during Christmas time and work with a local food bank in Greenview.
"Service is one of the most important things that the students do and we feel that it is one way we can be an example for others in the school and the community," Smith said.
The students have a heart for service and it is obvious in how quickly they agreed to support the Moore victims.
Page 2 of 2 - "We felt that the victims needed that money way more than we did. After all, it would be selfish to use the money for a trip or a party or something when it can be used to help people who lost everything," Bryttanee Owens, NHS Historian, tenth grader, said.
NHS has donated to the Convoy of Hope before, so they did not hesitate to donate with them again.
"We know Convoy of Hope would do a good job. We donated to them for the Joplin tornado and also did a big fundraiser for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. We really trust them to make sure as much of our donation as possible goes straight to the victims," Miriah Collins, vice president of grade 11, said.
Even though most of the donations will go to individuals that the Macks Creek students have never met, they feel like giving to others is something everyone should do.
"Just because I don't know someone doesn't mean this money won't help out. When one city goes through a tragedy like this, we are all going through it together," NHS president and junior, Audrey Whalen said. "We want to do what we can to make it easier on them when they are going through so much heartache. I hope that others would do the same for us."
Treasurer and fellow junior Seth Larson agrees, "It is important to donate to others because they are in need of items and resources more than we are. I have been in situations where family has been injured or passed away and it is nice to know that other people care and are readily available for support. The fact that you can give a person hope and the feeling of being loved is the best gift you can give."
Convoy of Hope was founded in 1994 to serve people throughout the world through international children's feeding initiatives, community outreach, disaster response and partner resourcing. This faith-based organization has an office in Springfield, Mo