On a blustery hot afternoon last week, members of  Heartland Middle School’s cross-country team skipped their regular workout for a workout of another kind. They sorted, carried and loaded into a trailer thousands of donated school supplies that were delivered to Cunningham Middle School in Houston, TX-a school whose student population was badly affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“One-third of their students and a few of their faculty members lost everything in the massive storm,”  said Heartland Assistant Principal Gabe Schmidt.

Heartland administrators learned about Cunningham’s need for help from an article in the Dallas Morning News highlighting a grassroots effort called “Principals Helping Principals.” Cheyenne and Central Middle Schools joined the fundraising effort.

“With all three schools involved, we were able to accomplish significantly more for our neighbors in need,” declared Schmidt.

Students emptied their piggy banks, parents bought Walmart gift cards and members of Memorial Road Church of Christ joined the effort and donated 1,000 backpacks and a trailer to haul all of the donations. In addition, a Colorado teacher who heard about the effort and was coming to Oklahoma City for a family reunion brought 23 large plastic storage tubs full of school supplies, books and basic necessities to Heartland to be added to what was already collected.

“One of the teacher’s relatives is a bank executive here in Oklahoma and said the extended family was looking for a way to help the victims of Harvey when she learned of our efforts,” said Schmidt.

This past weekend, Schmidt, Heartland Principal Jason Galloway and Central principal Laura McGee drove several hours to Houston to drop off the donated supplies and to meet their new friends.

“The supplies we delivered were warmly received filling the cafeteria of Cunningham Middle School. Students and staff are beyond grateful for the care and concern,” said Schmidt.