The devastating earthquake in Haiti has brought an outpouring of giving, and a local group of high school students wanted to be a part of that support.
The Washington Street Community Center youth group, The Young Legends, gathered backpacks, books, clothes, food, stuffed animals and toys to send to children in Haiti.
The Young Legends were formed six years ago to provide afterschool enrichment activities for high-schoolers and over the years the group has developed a focus on volunteerism.
Originally, the students were gathering food to hand out to the community, but when the quake hit Haiti, they decided the Haitians had a much greater need.
“We realized they had nothing. We tried to get as much as we could, because we knew it was important to help them,” said “Happy” Outlaw, a senior at Alcovy High School. “It’s heartwarming being able to help. And it all took was our time.”
The group asked friends, family members and fellow students to donate food and toys. Alcovy Freshman Treveous Belcher also went to local dentist Dr. Melvin Baker, who agreed to donate some supplies.
“We’re a helping country, and we wanted to do our part. We waste so much food in this country, and instead of continuing to waste it, we want to give food to someone who really needed it,” Belcher said.
The students were filling four large boxes to ship to Haiti on Tuesday, but still had to decide how to send the boxes. The U.S. Post Office was sending packages, but the students heard on the news that the shipments had been stopped, so they researching alternatives like the Red Cross or others.
They had collected 80 cans of food, 58 books, 49 bags, 21 book packages, 17 jars of baby food, 16 toys and four backpacks filled with school supplies.
The youth group President Lanae King said the group decided to focus on children, because they thought they might have the greatest need. As president, King runs the group’s weekly meeting and helps organize events like this fundraiser.
WSCC Executive Director Bea Jackson said she was proud of seeing her students take a project from start to finish.
“It really amazes me to see them go above and beyond. They decided they want to help, and they organized everything. It makes me a proud mama,” Jackson said.
Besides community service, The Young Legends also focus on college preparation and dealing with life after high school. The students all agreed the group is a lot of fun and Jackson described the group as “a party with a purpose.”