MACS Donates for Hurricane Relief

To help those in need, the Mexico Academy & Central School District community recently proved they’d be willing to give the shirts off their backs. More than 1,500 shirts to be exact.

To help students at Harrells Christian Academy in Harrells, North Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Mexico High School participated in a shirt collection called the Mexico Cares: Give ‘Em the Shirts Off Our Backs Campaign.

The shirt collection was started when retired English teacher Jane Backus learned from one of her former students, now a teacher at Harrells Christian Academy, that the community surrounding the district was devastated by the hurricane.

“She posted on social media that she felt lucky to have not suffered damage to her home and to her school,” Backus said. “But others, just at the end of her driveway, had lost everything. Five feet of water became eight feet, and the levels kept rising and it continued to rain.”

 Backus then had a thought.

“I thought, even muttered to myself, ‘I’d love to give her the shirt off my back to give to those poor souls.’ In the next minute, I found myself asking, ‘Why not?’”

Once Backus received permission from Mexico Academy to conduct the shirt drive, she and teacher Shannon Bigelow wrote emails and announcements to students and staff to consider donating one shirt to the cause.

“I had no idea what to expect in response,” said Backus.

The word went out on Oct. 1, and when Backus visited the school on Oct. 9, she found 10 large boxes already filled. By Oct. 19, Backus returned to find a, “literal wall of boxes, two deep and stacked four feet high.”

“Some shirts had tags on them. I learned that a few students and teachers decided that used shirts were good, but that the kids in North Carolina deserved even more,” said Backus. “So, they went out and bought sacks of new shirts from the end-of-summer racks.”

By Oct. 23, 62 large boxes were filled and contained approximately 1,500 shirts. Others from outside the Mexico community heard of the drive and decided to contribute financially by covering the cost of the truck and mileage it would take to get the shirts to North Carolina.

Once the shirts arrive in North Carolina, they will first go to families and students who lost everything, then to students and families in need and finally to area shelters still in recovery.

Backus said the shirt drive and the efforts of students and staff throughout Mexico Academy & Central School District serves as a reminder what a great community Mexico is.

“They are truly good and great,” said Backus. “One simple thought can lead to goodness and greatness.”