Wheaton students donate thousands of water bottles to Harvey victims

Published: Aug. 31, 2017 at 6:00 PM CDT
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Students in Wheaton High School's Future Farmers of America chapter have been working around the clock since Monday to round up as much bottled water as they can to donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

They got 270 cases.

"Well that's a lot of water," Wheaton FFA secretary Hallie Mitchell says.

Wheaton students spent their lunch period on Thursday packing up the water so they could send it to Liberty, Texas, which is 43 miles east of Houston. Nobody in Wheaton had family affected by Hurricane Harvey; they just wanted to do something.

"People from Texas came and helped us during the Joplin tornado and I feel like it's right to give back to Houstonians," Wheaton resident Michael Keith says.

Keith doesn’t work at the school and isn’t involved with FFA, but saw the devastation and reached out to Wheaton’s chapter on Monday night to try to round up as much water as they could. Now he’s driving all of the water the students gathered to Texas.

"There's enough drama in this community and this world today, and all the hate that's going on,” Keith says. “We just need to get together, unite together, and help one another."

They’ve been so good at collecting these cases that stores in Wheaton are running low. The Wheaton Family Market? Sold out. Dollar General? At about half capacity. Most of the stock was loaded into Keith’s truck Thursday afternoon.

“We knew that we wanted to give back to the people in Texas and we hopped on the opportunity, and our community has given us more water cases than we could ever imagine,” FFA president Tori Goostree says.

"This was put together short notice and they all banded together and they worked really hard and I am proud of their hard work,” Wheaton Principal Traci Mitchell says. Her daughter, Hallie, is the FFA secretary.

"It feels very good to know that these are going to help people, and I can't imagine what they're going through," Goostree said.

It's a lot of work, but as the students took in the weight of their efforts, they agreed it was worth it.

"A small town can make a big difference, and that's what we're doing here," Hallie Mitchell said.

That difference making water is on its way to Texas right now.