Louisiana Teacher Organizes Book Drive for Kindergarten Kids Displaced by Floods

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books readingFlooding in southern Louisiana has devastated whole communities. An estimated 40,000 homes were damaged–most of them completely ruined–and more than 30,000 people had to be rescued from the floodwaters. It’s been devastating for adults, but it’s especially difficult for children.

“The emotional toll on the kids has been heavy. They’re all in a bit of shock and stress and having meltdowns and tantrums,” said local mother Michelle Parrott to WBTV. “Trying to get back into their routine is going to be difficult when we don’t know what the future holds for us.”

Parrott and her family had to be rescued from their home by a boat. It’s been very difficult on all her kids, especially her oldest son, who has autism.

Kids displaced by the flooding have been living in cars, and shelters. Thousands of people are still in shelters, and even those who were able to return to their flood-ravaged homes have lost everything, and in many cases they can’t even go to school. The floods damaged schools and daycare centers as well as private homes, and while some say they will be able to open again next week, the department of education says 22 public schools in the area were too heavily damaged and won’t be able to open by next week.

There’s a lot to be done to try to get things back to normal and establish some kind of semblance of routine for kids who had to be ferried out of their homes by boats in the middle of the night, and who have now lost everything they had. One teacher has started a book drive to try to get books for kids who have lost everything, including their schools for the time being.

“I’m collecting funds for displaced kindergarteners with the help of teacher Jay Ann for Southside Elementary School students in flooded Denham Springs, Louisiana,” wrote Covington, Louisiana resident Karen Benianto–whose family was displaced after Hurricane Katrina–on the site’s GoFundMe page. “There are 80 kindergarteners in the school, most below the poverty line. They’ll all be in shelters for the foreseeable future where they may end up being taught.”

The LA Kids Books project is looking to buy 80 books for the kindergarten kids living in shelters, so they’ll have something to keep reading, and so they’ll know they are not completely empty-handed, and that someone out there is thinking about them. If the drive earns more than enough to supply the kindergarten kids, the extra funds will be used to start doing the same for the school’s first graders.

It’s a good cause that helps promote literacy, and a little bit goes a long way. The LA Kids Books fundraiser can be found here.