Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guelph woman collecting supplies to help Goderich’s children go back to school

Victoria Street United Church damaged by Sunday's tornado in Goderichphoto credit: Bun T Pein Photography via Flickr

from the Guelph Mercury

GUELPH — Of all the work and needs of residents of tornado-swept Goderich, buying back to school supplies for the children of that city is probably way down on the priority list.

So Pat Bilton has made it her top priority, and she’s hoping for some help from others in Guelph who were moved by the destruction in that city over the weekend.

Environment Canada says the tornado was an F3, with winds of 280 km per hour and a path of destruction a half-kilometre wide. One man died and 37 people were injured.

The downtown took the brunt of the destruction with the roofs of old churches torn off, sides of buildings peeled back, trees thrown about like toothpicks and broken glass everywhere.

“I’ve never lived there but I frequently go there,” said Bilton, a member of Norfolk Street United Church. “I was there last Thursday and had a lovely day with my grandson. And then Sunday, boom.

“I know there are organizations to help with food and emergency supplies, but the kids will be back at school in a week and a half. I’m thinking school, and school supplies, will help those children get back to normal.”

Bilton hopes individuals will buy a backpack and load it with supplies, but anything and everything will help, she says.

She’s made a list of suggested items: backpacks, lunch bags, pencils, pens and pencil cases, erasers, pencil crayons, pencil sharpeners, markers, scissors, glue sticks, math sets, rulers, highlighters, duotang folders, binders, note and blank paper, dictionaries.

Folks can drop off items at Norfolk Street United Church Thursday and Friday of this week from 9 a.m. to noon, or Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bilton intends to deliver the backpacks to St. Vincent de Paul in Goderich next Thursday.

“You ask yourself ‘what can one person do?’ but one person can do a lot,” she said. “John Galt built Goderich like he did Guelph, so in a way it’s our sister city.