donations for Louisiana

Donations for the Livingston Parish School District in Louisiana are being collected in the amphitheater at Plymouth High School.

Plymouth schools helping Louisiana students

Posted September 12, 2016

The Plymouth School District is hoping to send two semi-loads of help and hope to the Livingston Parish School District in Louisiana, which was devastated by flooding last month.

“Seven trillion gallons of water fell on Louisiana in two days in areas that were not historically prone to flooding,” said Plymouth High School drama teacher Janet DeJean Newton, who is heading the donation drive. “That’s three times more water than Hurricane Katrina produced in 2005.”

Mrs. Newton has lived in Wisconsin for nearly 30 years, but was born in Louisiana and still has family there. The homes of her sister and her cousin are among the 146,000 damaged in what is being called a 500-year flood. “The majority of these damaged homes were not in flood zones, and no one was expecting the horrific results of this weather system that simply would not leave,” she said.

Frustrated by a lack of national media coverage, Mrs. Newton decided to do what she could to help and secured permission from district administration to “adopt” the hard-hit Livingston Parish School District.

Johnsonville Foods and Sargento Cheese each have donated use of a semi-truck to take donations to Livingston Parish, where 15 of its 40 schools were damaged.

“I hope the community of Plymouth will rally together to fill both of these semis with learning supplies and materials for the thousands of children who were directly affected by this weather disaster when both their homes and their schools were damaged,” Mrs. Newton said.

Donations will be accepted through Sept. 30. Items sought include school supplies, backpacks, educational materials, and gently used educational games and books. No clothing or food is being collected as part of this campaign.

“Of course, monetary donations are always welcome, but consider what it will take to restock and rebuild these damaged schools,” Mrs. Newton said. Checks can be made out to Plymouth High School.

Mrs. Newton also set up a "Shoebox Penpal" project in which Plymouth area students (and adults) can write letters to their Louisiana peers that will be placed in shoeboxes filled with items to be given to individual Louisiana students. The boxes will include a postage-paid postcard so the recipients can write back.

“I know the people of Louisiana are resilient and will be able to rebuild, so please consider giving them a helping hand from Wisconsin,” Mrs. Newton said.

Other groups have signed on to help with the effort, including St. John the Baptist School of Plymouth, the Plymouth Intergenerational Center, LEWSPA International (http://4haitishope.org/), Bethlehem Lutheran School of Sheboygan, and First United Lutheran Church of Sheboygan.

“This is a gathering together of a community to help another community, one very much like ours,” Mrs. Newton said. “So many people knew about this flooding disaster, but were not quite sure of the best way to help. But once, as some told me, ‘I lit the fire,’ people starting joining in to help, very compassionately.”

Learn more:
• Visit Mrs. Newton’s website at http://www.mrsnewtonphs.com/help-flooded-la-schools.html
• For more information, contact Mrs. Newtown at jnewton@plymouth.k12.wi.us.
Click here for an article about the donation drive in the Sheboygan Press.
Click here for a news segment on WTMJ-4.
Click here for the Livingston Parish School District website, which features a moving video about their Recovery Story.