Patriot football team packs kits to help others

Joy Buskirk of the local charity After the Disaster explains to members of the Parkersburg South High School football team how to put together the kits she distributes to local fire departments to help families impacted by fires.

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg South High School Patriots football team and others gathered at Erickson All-Sports Facility Wednesday to pack kits to be used by families impacted by a house fire.

Over 30 people came out to separate donated items and pack them into kits that will be distributed by local fire departments to families immediately impacted by a fire.

The players and others separated body wash, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and handtowels/washclothes to pack into kits for men, women and children.

Organizer Joy Buskirk started After the Disaster, a local charity, earlier this year. The Parkersburg resident has been putting together After the Disaster kits and distributing them to fire departments to give to families displaced by a fire. The kits include toiletry items and items someone might need in the immediate aftermath of a fire when the availability of money could be an issue.

Buskirk, who had a donation drive last month, brought enough items for 60 kits. Some of the players and others brought donations Wednesday.

Jackson Dearth, sophomore at Parkersburg South High School, rolls up hand towels and wash cloths Wednesday to be put into kits that will be distributed to local fire departments to give out to families impacted by house fires. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

”Anything over (the 60 kits) will be awesome,” she said. ”We can fill them up and whatever we have left, I will take for the next batch of kits I am putting together.”

Buskirk has been putting kits together herself at her house as time, money and donations have allowed.

”I am really thankful for the help,” she said.

She ended up with an abundance of items for future kits from the donations people brought out.

Officials with the South football program wanted the players to be involved in community service projects.

Members of the Parkersburg South High Patriots football team help Wednesday to put together After the Disaster kits. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

Christy Rice, treasurer for the Parkersburg South Football Boosters, said the new South football coach Nathan Tanner wanted the players to get out in the community and do service projects. Rice had seen local media coverage of the After the Disaster charity and contacted Buskirk about getting her together with the football team to pack kits.

”We had the boys bring donations,” she said. ”They will be working to pack up these kits to be given out.”

Rice said doing this kind of work helps gets the kids involved in their community.

”It is good for kids to start getting involved when they are young and becoming productive members of society,” she said. ”It is about doing good for others and it gets them working as a team, helping out others. They are a team on the field and off the field.”

The players were thankful for being able to do something for the community.

Braden Whipkey, a freshman at Parkersburg South High School, packs After the Disaster kits Wednesday with the rest of the Patriot football team. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

”I came out to help our community because our community has done so much for us,” said Marshall McPherson, a senior. ”They built Erickson for us. We always have to give back and not forget where we came from.”

Peyton Board, a sophomore, said there are so many people who regularly come out and support them and their school.

”The community is always out here backing us up during our football games and supporting us,” he said. ”We just wanted to be able to come out here and support them.”

Buskirk was touched by the turnout from the team and the effort they put in helping her. They asked questions about how to pack the kits, they were respectful and worked hard together, she said.

”It has been awesome,” she said. ”They are learning community service.

”The more we get done, the faster the fire departments will get them and the faster the people who need them will get them,”Buskirk said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com