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Clothes for Honduras

November 24, 1998

Clothing for victimsBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The wide hall in front of the principal's office in Waynesboro Area Senior High School was made narrow Monday with great piles of clothes stuffed into plastic bags, the result of efforts by nearly all of the school's 1,350 students to help the people of hurricane-ravaged Honduras.

The clothes, enough to fill a tractor-trailer, were collected by the students, most of whom cleaned out their family's closets in search of T-shirts, blouses, sweaters, light jackets, jeans, skirts, dresses and shoes. The students also contributed blankets, towels and toiletries. A few stuffed toys made it onto the pile, as well.

The students also collected nearly $2,000 in cash, mostly by passing the hat around school, although some area churches and residents also helped out.

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The catalyst for the humanitarian effort came from 21-year-old German F. Lara, who in 1994 and 1995 was a Honduran exchange student at the Waynesboro school.

After Hurricane Mitch devastated his country and left about 10,000 people dead and 80,000 homeless, Lara called Robert Mesaros, superintendent of the Waynesboro Area School District and asked for help. The word went out at the high school, and the students responded.

"It was overwhelming to see that all but two students in my homeroom were wearing red ribbons," said Tessey Flohr, 17, junior class president.

Students, faculty and school staff members who helped with or donated to the effort were given red ribbons to wear.

The 125-member student council gave $500 in cash from its treasury and the junior class pulled $500 from its treasury to match it, Flohr said.

The home economics class made two quilts to send to Honduras. Students sewed their names in the panels, said Joseph Mackley, a social sciences teacher who helped coordinate the drive.

The clothes will be delivered after Thanksgiving to a central warehouse in Ephrata, Pa., run by the Central Mennonite Committee. The father of a Waynesboro Area Senior High student is donating the truck and his time, Mackley said.

The student Peer Advocates group made the ribbons and passed canisters around the school to raise money.

"A lot of us learned that you need to give, that you need to care," said Tabi Hershey, 16, a junior.

"I learned that I would want someone to do this for me if I was in trouble," said Allison Mace, 17, another junior.

Mackley said he learned that many more students participated in the drive than he thought would.

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