One week after an F3 tornado severely damaged her home in the Bent Creek subdivision, school counselor Susan Crites was back at work and thanking co-workers and students who helped piece her life back together in the days that followed the storm.
"It was tremendous," said Crites, who works at R.O. Hawkins Junior High. "The school cook brought us a tarp. My principal was up on the roofing hammering. Students and the wrestling coach cleared away trees. People I never would have thought to call just showed up to help."
With at least five teachers and 44 students affected, the Jackson School District is doing its part to help victims of last week's tornado.
The district will kick off a seven-day food and supply drive today to collect nonperishables, bedding, clothing, hygiene items and cleaning supplies.
Food drive coordinator and school social worker Kristin Bushman said the district collaborated with the Red Cross and New McKendree United Methodist Church for the project. Boxes have been set up at each of the district's nine schools.
"I think there's a large need for this right now, and we just wanted to take the initiative to help the community in any way we can," Bushman said. "There probably are families out there we don't know about yet, and we want to help as many as we can."
Next Thursday, the boxes will be collected and taken to New McKendree United Methodist Church to be distributed to families of Jackson students and school employees.
The assistance will be greatly appreciated by people such as Crites, whose two-story home on Lakewoods Drive received major damage to the roof, attic, ceilings, drywall and carpet.
"We've got a big job facing us. It's not even close to being over," Crites said. "But the school is the community. We're a family, and we pull together really well."
For more information about the food and supply drive, contact the Jackson School Board office at 243-9501.
335-6611, extension 128