Clothing and backpacks from Harrisonville couldn’t have reached Fort Bend County, Texas, at a better time, a Harrisonville High School alumna said recently following Hurricane Harvey.
This month, the Harrisonville community collected donations that were delivered to another school district in a Houston suburb following the hurricane, and the local district said it wants to help even more in the future.
Michelle Angel-Buasri is a former Cass County resident who lives in Richmond, Texas, with her husband, Sip. The couple has three children attending elementary in the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, a district of more than 25,000 students in the Houston metropolitan area.
Angel-Buasri spent most of her childhood in Cass County, attending Harrisonville schools. She moved to Texas from Pleasant Hill in 2009, months after Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc in Texas.
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Less than a month ago, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and surrounding communities again. As the storm battered the Gulf coast, friends and family in Harrisonville kept close watch through social media.
“The devastation was something else,” Angel-Buasri said. “Helicopters were flying over every 15 to 20 minutes. People weren’t able to leave their subdivision. They didn’t have produce in stores for weeks. It’s been an adjustment for everyone. It was like a war zone, but there wasn’t really a war.”
Angel-Buasri said her family didn’t have to evacuate during the hurricane, and only suffered a damaged roof, but others in Fort Bend County, Texas, including children who are homeless, weren’t so lucky, she said.
The storm caused Lamar CISD to cancel classes for two weeks. Schools finally reopened Sept. 11. Angel-Buasri wanted to help her community in the aftermath.
One of Angel-Buasri’s friends is Jill Filer, a spokeswoman for the Harrisonville School District.
The two graduated from Harrisonville High School together in 1989. Filer saw her friend’s social media posts and, from there, helped organize the effort in Harrisonville to collect donated clothing and backpacks for students at Lamar CISD.
Over a two-week period, the school district gathered new backpacks and school uniforms — including khaki pants, shorts, skirts, and red, white and navy blue polo shirts of all sizes.
Three local residents delivered the items with a truck and trailer on Sept. 17 to Common Threads, a charitable program at Lamar CISD. The trio also brought several pallets of water, which were given to the Cypress Creek Fire Department outside of Houston.
The two school district hope to work together again in the near future.
“We will wait to see what they need,” Filer said in an email. “I am in contact with Jennifer Roberts, the Lamar CISD Director of Support Services. She knows that we are ready and willing to do another collection for whatever they need.”
In a message to Harrisonville on behalf of Lamar CISD, Roberts expressed gratitude for the donations. The Harrisonville school district shared the note on its Facebook page.
“It’s what we needed, when we needed it,” Roberts wrote. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”
Days after Lamar CISD received the truckload of donations, Angel-Buasri said the impact it’s had on her local school district has been nothing short of “amazing.”
“This is the Missouri I know,” Angel-Buasri said. “The small town feeling and kindness that I learned growing up in that small community was amazing. I was proud to share with them (Lamar) about my community.”