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home : news : news Wednesday, November 22, 2017

10/21/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
Club plans Texas trip to assist in recovery
Students in Maquoketa to visit same town being helped by DeWitt dinner

By Kelly Gerlach
Staff writer

Some Maquoketa students will give up homemade turkey dinners and pumpkin pie with their families to help people in hurricane-stricken Dickinson, Texas.

Twenty-one club hOpe members and about nine adult chaperones will make the 2,200-mile trek to the city Nov. 22-23. Dickinson, a city of about 18,000 between Houston and Galveston, was devastated by flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

That is the same Texas city that will benefit from a community fundraiser in DeWitt next week.

A spaghetti supper will be served from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the DeWitt Community Center. Proceeds from the freewill offering, as well as a bake sale that night. will be sent to Dickinson.

The DeWitt event has been organized by Larry Fuglsang of DeWitt, who lived near Dickson for more than 20 years, and Brian Tulley of Calamus, a native Texan.

The Maquoketa students' trip to Dickinson will be a learning experience for the kids, according to their adviser, Mindy Orris.

"At Thanksgiving, it's really difficult to realize what you're thankful for when you have so much," she told Maquoketa Community School Board members.

Orris has connections with the Texas town. Some of her classmates have friends there and alerted her group of student volunteers to the need in that community.

Hurricane Harvey tore up the Gulf Coast, including Dickinson, flooding the town Aug. 26. There was a mandatory evacuation of the city. Buildings were under up to 5 feet of water.

Early reports from the Dickinson Police Department showed that more than 7,300 homes were damaged, and about half of those had major damage or were destroyed. Almost 100 businesses were significantly damaged.

The Maquoketa crew will ride in school Suburbans or buses - the funding details still need to be worked out - for about 17 hours, leaving on Nov. 22 and arriving on Thanksgiving day. They will stay overnight in a hotel and take their own grill and other equipment to make their own food.

They will work in Dickinson on Thanksgiving, Friday and Saturday, staying overnight in Little Rock, Arkansas, Saturday and returning to Maquoketa Sunday. The Arkansas stop will be to break up the drive.

Members do not know exactly how they will be helping.

The trip will cost $150 a person - at least, that's that goal, Orris said.

club hOpe wants to take one bus, but that would cost too much. A charter bus alone would cost about $9,000, almost double the cost of using school vehicles. But the club doesn't have the money to pay for a charter bus; it would put the group about $6,000 over budget.

The travelers might not have the funds to pay for the school vehicles, either, Orris said, noting a possible $1,500 shortage.

Club members will try to raise the money in the next month leading up to the trip. People who want to donate money to send the kids to Texas are asked to call Orris at the high school at 563-652-4984.

Maquoketa Community School Board last year asked that members do community service work closer to home. The group has been helping to build schools, carry water, and work with children in other countries since its inception about a decade ago.

Orris said this Texas trip is the club's way of adhering to that request.

Orris said she wants the kids to know how thankful they should be.

"I'm hoping this will really make them feel grateful about what they have every single day."

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