Hurricane relief: Durham students pitch in to help 'Operation Airdrop'

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All week, volunteers have been dropping off donations at the General Aviation Terminal at Raleigh-Durham International Airport as a part of Operation Airdrop.

The organization was founded last year after Hurricane Harvey to deliver relief supplies to hard-to-reach areas in need.

On Friday third-graders from the Duke School took time out of their day to go to the airport to unload what they had gathered up.

Much of the supplies are being shipped to areas such as Lumberton, Wilmington and New Bern.

“Academics are important but it’s really about raising nurturing, kind human beings,” said Mary Beth Hes, a third-grade teacher at the school.

She and her co-teacher Heather Greene have been teaching their students about the weather all semester. Florence didn’t come through the Bull City as expected, but a tornado warning and heavy rains canceled class Monday.

“We came to school on Tuesday and told our stories — then somebody said, ‘But did you see the flooding at the beach and then we watched a video about an evacuation at the beach?'” Greene said.

Soon they brainstormed. Then other teachers brought boxes in that the children filled with donated supplies.

“My parents were supposed to go to a wedding that weekend that it hit and it got postponed and that’s when my mind just clicked on Florence,” said Sam Garman, a third-grader.

They also wrote notes of encouragement on the boxes.

“These are their formative years right?” Greene said. “We want to give them experiences that will be positive for them.”

On Friday, the students spoke about the lessons they took from the experience.

“Sometimes I think, why is it water?” said Grace Ovenden, also a third-grader. “Why can’t it be something different because it’s hard to think about things we use for so many good reasons can hurt people.”

Garman also reflected on the lesson.

“it means a lot that I can be a part of helping people because when I get the opportunity to help a person, I feel really good when I finish it,” he said.

Operation Airdrop is also putting out a call on Facebook for more pilots. They say they have trucks of badly needed supplies that need to get to people.

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