NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS
HUGHESVILLE – As a result of last week’s flooding, the East Lycoming Education Association (ELEA) decided to meet with their school board to see if a relief program could be set aside for families and teachers who were affected by the damaging waters on Sept. 7. Deb Kuhar, President of the ELEA, stated that there is a real need to help and had some flyers printed up to send home with the students asking for donations as well as those seeking help to come to the school.
As of last Wednesday, donations came pouring in from clothing to food, bottled water, paper supplies, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and food items. By Friday evening, the gymnasium at Hughesville High School was completely filled with donations, with more coming each day. Kuhar asked members to consult businesses as well and it wasn’t long before a response brought not only much needed supplies, but cash as well. Mayor Walt Reed met with administrators at the School District and the board members on Monday afternoon, Sept. 12 for two hours to brainstorm ways to help according to Kuhar, and they came up with the program, Neighbors Helping Neighbors. “There is such a need here, we had to do something,” said Kuhar. Many of the teachers started handing in gift cards, so they made numerous trips to Weis and Target to get $10 gift cards. Many of the local businesses also contributed gift cards. The Greater Hughesville Business Association also gave $1,000 towards the program.
In addition to this, the ELEA decided to collect money for “Dress Down Days” and teachers donated money for three days and collected $2,000. The school was open to all communities affected by the flooding, not just Hughesville and Muncy. Many came from Tivoli, Glen Mawr, Sonestown and Loyalsockville.
Sullivan Gulf donated gas cards and Buck Lumber offered additional lumber. Galen Houseknect and his wife donated money for grocery items and TJ’s grocery store also donated cash and prescriptions according to Kuhar. “All of this is so amazing,” said Kuhar. “It’s overwhelming,” added Mike Bieber, a teacher and volunteer. “Everybody can use a little bit,” Kuhar said, “and it doesn’t go far.” Several of the teachers were volunteering after school and worked throughout the weekend sorting clothes and packing boxes. Sherry Cowburn, principal at Ashkar replied, “The outpouring of donations has been amazing and a rewarding experience in such a time of need.”
Renn Elementary School in Lairdsville and Ferrell Elementary School in Picture Rocks were also collecting donations. WNEP’s announcer Kurt Aaron Carichner, who is from Hughesville, was also making announcements for families to pick up donated supplies at the schools over the weekend. “We will keep this program ongoing throughout the rest of the year,” Kuhar explained. “This community is just coming together to offer help.” Some are even meeting their neighbor for the very first time.