PARKERSBURG - Area educators teamed up to gather clothing for those affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Local officials have already collected more than 500 hoodies and sweatshirts as part of the "Hoodies for Hope" campaign, sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers' West Virginia chapter.
"Tens of thousands of AFT members were personally and professionally affected by Superstorm Sandy," said Greg Merritt, president of the Wood County AFT. "In challenging times like these, the solidarity and support of the labor movement shines through."
Wood County AFT member and Parkersburg High School teacher Jaime Kupfner was instrumental in seeing the "Hoodies For Hope" campaign reach a huge level of success in Wood County. Kupfner is the sponsor of the PHS junior varsity cheerleading squad and she encouraged the cheerleaders to collect hoodies and sweatshirts. That group joined in the AFT-sponsored effort and collected more than 350 hoodies. Wood County AFT members in other schools also collected hoodies and sweatshirts, with nearly 500 collected in all.
"Teachers, in general, are very giving. This campaign reminds us of the importance of sharing," Merritt said. "Victims of Hurricane Sandy have been in need all these many weeks. Perhaps the hoodies and sweatshirts will offer some physical warmth and emotional encouragement."
Other AFT Wood County members echoed Merritt.
"Teachers at my school (Neale Elementary) helped out with this effort," said teacher Laura Bradley. "I was pleased to deliver these hoodies today and I know there are many people who need clothing in New York and New Jersey. This is a good thing."
"Here we are in the Christmas season and we can't forget those in need," said Noel Clinton, secretary of the Wood County AFT. "Hurricane Sandy affected millions of people, and some lost everything. We hope our contribution offers help to those who need it."