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Morning Sun
  • Joplin schools receive gift in wake of disaster

  • Insurance can cover rebuilding buildings and replacing things for families and schools, but it doesn’t help children who had needs even before the deadly tornado meet those needs and be ready for school.

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  • Insurance can cover rebuilding buildings and replacing things for families and schools, but it doesn’t help children who had needs even before the deadly tornado meet those needs and be ready for school.
    It’s those needs like food, a bed and other basic personal needs that will be met with money given to a special Joplin Schools Tornado Relief Fund, according to Joplin R-8 Superintendent C.J. Huff, and that fund got a big boost on Thursday.
    David and Debra Humphreys announced that they were donating $250,000 to that fund, and they offered to match community and business donations to the fund dollar for dollar up to an additional $250,000 bringing the potential for raising as much as $750,000 to help Joplin students.
    “If you’ve been following Joplin schools for any length of time, one of the things we’ve been really working hard towards is meeting the needs of our students,” Huff said. “We have so many kids who live in poverty, we have kids that come to school that don’t have a bed to sleep in at night that don’t have adequate clothing or food and we’ll be using that funding to help support programs that assist meeting the basic needs of our kids.”
    David Humphreys, president and CEO of the Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products Inc. said the gift was a way to help rebuild the educational lives of students in the shattered school district.
    The May 22 tornado destroyed thousands of homes in the middle of Joplin and destroyed or damaged eight of the district’s 19 schools and other buildings. The destroyed buildings include Joplin High School, Franklin Technical Center and Irving Elementary School.
    Last week, Huff announced that seven students and one teacher in the district were among the people killed in the tornado. The death toll from the storm was raised on Thursday to 138 with the death of four people who were critically injured in the storm.
    “We’re doing this to support the rebuilding of the infrastructure of the school system which is vital to our community,” Humphreys said.  “We would also like to encourage other individuals and businesses to give to the Joplin schools’ efforts to support the rebuilding of Joplin. In addition, this gift is made in memory of my grandfather, John E. Humphreys, who served for 50 years as the superintendent of schools in Ashland, Kan. and who always emphasized the importance of a good education.”
    Huff said the district is fully insured, so the money in this fund doesn’t have to go to rebuild buildings.
    “It will go directly to the students of the Joplin school district,” Huff said. “We have a lot of kids that had a lot of needs prior to this event and we certainly are going to have more now then we had prior to the tornado. Being able to meet the basic needs of our kids, make sure they have everything they need to be successful in school is obviously a critical mission for us right now as we transition into this next school year.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He said the money can help stabilize the lives of the children of the Joplin school district.
    “I think what’s important is that we have the resources we need above and beyond bricks and mortar and textbooks to meet the physical, basic needs of our kids including any emotional or social support that they need so they can come to school and succeed,” Huff said. “What I hope is that we utilize this money to help them get back to that sense of normalcy sooner rather than later.”
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