School supply shopping can evoke many emotions – excitement for a new year, dread for early mornings and anticipation of what the new year holds.
School supply shopping for Regina and Billy Wilson, of Green Bank, filled them with pride, mainly because their son, Gage, decided he wanted to collect school supplies for students affected by the devastating flooding that occurred in West Virginia in June.
Gage, who will soon begin sixth grade at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, said he noticed people in the community collecting food, clothing and other items for flood victims, but they weren’t thinking about school.
“All of the adults were getting stuff and nobody was thinking about the children, about when they have to go back to school,” he said. “That’s basically how I got the idea to do this.”
The Wilsons began small with a donation box at the Dollar General store in Green Bank. After a week with no donations, Regina took to Facebook and shortly thereafter, the donations came pouring in.
“We had the box at the store for a week and there was nothing in it,” Regina said. “You would have thought [Gage] lost his best friend. He was so disappointed. He was really sad. After that, I posted on Facebook, and it just started coming in.”
Individuals contacted Regina and dropped off items at the house and store. Along with local donations, friends and family from out of state sent items, too.
“Some of it is from Pennsylvania,” Regina said. “I’ve got some coming from New Jersey. One woman, I guess she bought in bulk when her kids were in school and she sent me a message saying ‘I’ve got some notebooks.’ I thought maybe ten or fifteen. I went and got seven boxes from her. She still has more at home.”
Along with notebooks, Gage has collected backpacks, pencils, erasers, binders, folders, glue, crayons, markers and more.
The first part of his collection, 14 boxes full of supplies, were taken by 2016 Miss Pocahontas Elizabeth Kelley, who also collected supplies at McCoy’s Market in Hillsboro, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, Family Resource Network in Marlinton, Henry’s Quick Stop in Green Bank and Station 2 in Durbin. Kelley delivered the supplies to Lewisburg and surrounding areas to be distributed.
While school begins in a few weeks, Gage said he plans to continue to collect supplies as long as they are needed.
“I want to continue,” he said.
Pleased with such a big response, Gage said he is grateful to those who helped him make going back to school a little easier for the children who lost a lot in the flood.
“I want to thank everybody because this is a lot of stuff,” he said. “I didn’t expect to get this much.”
“I thought it would be just a few things,” Regina added. “This was overwhelming.”
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com