Director of Bradley County Schools Linda Cash delivered more than $10,000 to Meigs South Elementary School Thursday morning to help relieve some burdens in the wake of the school bus wreck in October.
According to Cash, the money was raised by Bradley County students and teachers through a community effort.
“The Bradley County Interact Club wanted to take this on as a service project, so they started the fundraiser and, between them and the Cleveland New Rotary Club, they raised over $640. So I reached out and asked them if they could take it district-wide and they said yes,” Cash said. “We came up with neighbors helping neighbors because the bus driver that was in the wreck was the sister of one of our board members, so we felt connected to all of it.”
Cash stated that she reached out to all of the principals in her district who then reached out to their students where they expanded the project and raised money until Thursday, Nov. 12.
“At that point we had over $10,000, but from then to now it has become $13,400 all donated by the community, the schools, and just people helping people,” Cash said.
The Bradley County School System worked with United Way of the Ocoee Region along with banks as collection sites for the community to donate.
“People just stepped up and donated whatever they could and that participation helped us to help Meigs,” she stated. “It was a community event that was started by the Interact Club and their two leaders at Bradley Central High School.”
United Way of the Ocoee Region also contributed to the donations allowing Cash to present $18,000 worth of donations to both Meigs County Schools Director Clint Baker and Meigs County South Elementary School Principal Rachel Moore.
“I feel joyful and humble that so many people care and it is such a pleasure to be able to help,” expressed Cash. “We can’t change what happened but if we can lift any families up then we are more than blessed to be able to do that. Our hearts go to all of the families. This is a great community that lives and works together and we are proud to be a neighbor that can help and assist.”
Baker stated the support the county has received during this presentation was “unbelievable.”
“This is so important for the families that were involved and we are excited for the support of both United Ways of this area and Bradley County for their support because they really stepped up and supported us during this time,” Baker said. “The outpouring of support amongst the communities around us in a year where people are really apprehensive about a lot of things, it really gives you hope.”
He plans to analyze the needs of people that are involved with the wreck and utilize the money in a way that would best serve their needs.
“It is a good day to receive these gifts but we certainly would like to not have to go through these things because there are a lot of hurt people,” he said, referring to the incident.
Moore also expressed her thoughts on receiving the donations from United Way and Bradley County Schools.
“It just shows the tremendous support and love that people have and I’ve never been more proud to be an educator,” said Moore. “The support has been such an encouraging gift that has helped keep us going.”
Moore believes the fundraising was an important life lesson for Bradley County students on what it means to be supportive.
“This says a lot about Bradley County with what they did to support and, more importantly, that they got their students involved in this drive,” Moore stated. “I can’t say enough about the leadership and the fact that the students had such a role in raising this money.”