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‘The sun will shine again’ – CMS sends truckload of love to Houston students

Volunteers and CMS employees sorted donations Thursday for students affected by Hurricane Harvey. Collections at all schools were enough to fill an 18-wheeler, Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said.
Volunteers and CMS employees sorted donations Thursday for students affected by Hurricane Harvey. Collections at all schools were enough to fill an 18-wheeler, Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Even as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders began planning for a possible hurricane emergency in Charlotte, volunteers loaded an 18-wheeler truck full of clothes, toiletries and school supplies students gathered for young Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston.

CMS had collection boxes in all 176 schools for the past several days. On Thursday more than 100 volunteers met at the old J.M. Alexander Middle School in Huntersville to collect, box and load the donations.

“Kids who have so little were buying a new outfit for kids they didn’t know, and you know they would have loved to keep them for themselves,” Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said.

Wilcox, who led school districts in Louisiana and Florida before coming to Charlotte this year, said he knows how devastating hurricanes can be. After Harvey hit the Houston area, he and his staff brainstormed a plan to help counterparts hit by flooding.

Parents and community partners responded eagerly to the call for help preparing the donations, and Bank of America paid for the truck to deliver the goods to Houston schools. “The heart that people showed was incredible,” Wilcox said.

One of the most touching parts of Thursday’s work was reading notes students had written for Texas students, Wilcox said. Among them: “The sun will shine again.”

Meanwhile, with Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida and expected to bring damaging winds and rain to North Carolina, Wilcox was scheduled to meet with county emergency officials Thursday afternoon to prepare for everything from closing schools and managing evacuations to using schools as emergency shelters.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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