HAMSHIRE, Texas — As Hamshire-Fannett students prepare to return to school for the first time since Imelda, organizations from all over have stepped in to help. The schools took on more water than they did during Harvey, leaving them with 13 fewer classrooms available to use than at that time.
Friday, boxes upon boxes of Kleenex, pencil-sharpeners, headphones, and more were dropped off at Hamshire-Fannett High School. Assistant Superintendent Jon Burris said he was approached by Doug Savant with Port Arthur Wal-Mart Monday.
"This past Monday our teachers did a needs assessment and we started a spreadsheet, I sent that spreadsheet to Doug Savant at Wal-Mart, and the result is what he brought us today," Burris said.
The supplies, totaling about $1,000 were brought to a couple of different campuses. Burris said the district is truly appreciative of Wal-Mart, and the many other organizations that have stepped in to help.
"The main thing is we just want to get back to some normalcy, the kids come back Monday, they've been out for three weeks now," Burris said.
The donation was a big one. Several people, like Joshua Harrington, were there to help unload the boxes. Harrington is a College Station firefighter, here in Southeast Texas with the Texas Interagency Coordination Center Task Force.
"It's a good feeling, it's what we're here for," Harrington said.
From putting out fires to unloading school supplies, everyday has been something different. In the short amount of time he's spent here, even the College Station native is feeling the Southeast Texas spirit.
"Go Longhorns!" "Thought I'd never say that," Harrington laughed.
It's people like Harrington, Wal-Mart, and the countless others that have made all the difference for the district. Burris, who's in charge of all of the donations, said they get 10-15 phone calls a day from people wanting to help. From fundraisers, to GoFundMe accounts, to supply donations, the support has been unwavering.
The district learned a lot from Harvey. Burris said this time around, they were better prepared to handle Imelda. They learned from their mistakes, and expect things to go much more smoothly this year.
Imelda has been difficult for both students and staff. About 40 teachers lost their homes in Imelda, according to Burris. The district is left with very limited teaching space. What they do have will need to be shared. Burris said they're working toward getting ready for the students to be able to return for a full day, by working with churches, and separating some kids into the auditorium when they're not in the classroom.
"One of the big needs are carts to go back and forth with all of their supplies on, some of them are sharing classrooms so we need something to put all their stuff on also," Burris said.
Their main priority is getting the students back to some normalcy. Despite the circumstances, Burris is confident it'll be a great school year.
"Just be patient with us, we have a very good plan, it's going to be good and we're going to educate these kids," Burris said.