Changing the world: Texico students raise money for tsunami victims

Texico fourth-grader D.J. Griego donated more than $5 to a penny drive Tuesday at the school started to help tsunami victims. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer

Mega-Hollywood stars grabbed the spotlight Saturday night with a telethon to benefit survivors of the tsunami that ravaged southern Asia.

But locally — with less fanfare — schools, residents and restaurants are pitching in to support survivors of the disaster that killed more than 150,000 people half-a-world away.

Texico Elementary students are holding a penny drive competition between boys and girls. To score points, students add pennies to their team jars. To take away points, students donate silver coins and bills in the opposing team’s jars.

The school raised $513 with all the money to be given to the Red Cross.

Much of that money came from Texico fourth-grader Chandler Loper’s piggy bank. The shy, blonde, 9 year old donated $56 he said took a few years to save.

“I felt real bad for them,” Chandler said. “I saw something on the news that there were 10 children holding on and then the second wave hit and there were three. It scared me.”

Fourth-grade science teacher Dianne Davis helped organize the drive. She is teaching students about how tsunamis form and students are learning about the culture of those hit hardest by the waves.

“They have really been watching the news and have been on the Internet learning all they can,” she said. “Some kids give from the bottom of their hearts, more than some adults who can afford it.”

Texico students will be selling $5 car decals at Friday’s home basketball game against Santa Rosa with all proceeds benefiting victims.

At students’ request, Clovis school board members paved the way last meeting for any student wanting to donate to the relief effort. Students around the district may donate money which will flow through central office to be delivered to the Red Cross.

“Children are touched by what they see on television,” said Interim Superintendent G.C. Ross. “They have a generous heart and want to help others.”

Two local restaurants are donating proceeds from dessert purchases to the Red Cross. Leal’s Mexican restaurants in Clovis and Taco Box locations in Clovis and Portales are two of about 50 eateries statewide working with the New Mexico Restaurant Association’s “Desserts for Disaster” relief fund.

The program runs through Saturday. Leal’s officials estimates selling between 15-20 desserts each day while Taco Box officials estimate about 20.

“We’re sitting over here getting fat and happy and the rest of the world, they need some help,” said Taco Box owner Tom Martin. “It is the least we could do.”

Clara Hawkins is raising disaster relief money one egg roll at a time. The Clovis woman is selling her specialty for $12 per dozen.

“People know me for my egg rolls,” she said, refusing to give up her ingredients.

Hawkins’ parents served as missionaries in Indonesia for 11 years before settling in Austin. She visited them in the southern Indonesia town of Salatiga in 1986. Her parents told her some of their students remain missing from the disaster.

“After watching the news I just started thinking, what can I do what can I do?” Hawkins said.

She has raised $480 so far and Hawkins’ goal is to raise $2,000 by Feb. 12 when the sale ends.

“This is from my heart, I want to do it,” she said. “I just have egg rolls coming out of my ears.”