Local students start Washington Strong wristband fundraiser to help tornado victims

By WEEK Reporter

December 6, 2013 Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 11:37 PM CDT

MORTON, Ill. -- What started as a simple class project at Morton Junior High School has grown into a nationwide initiative to support Washington Tornado Survivors.

"Their original project was to research going green Christmas presents," said 8th grade science teacher Jessica Keller.

After the tornado in Washington, four students in Jessica Keller's 8th grade Environmental class thought they should change it up.

"Tuesday they came back and said they wanted to change the whole project," said Keller.

"I just felt like that was sort of wrong knowing that they didn't have anything," 8th grade project leader Haegan Kelly.

"We were thinking that we should change our project to something that would help the community," said Grant Churchill, another 8th grade project leader.

The boys decided on selling these "Washington Strong" wristbands for $2 each. All the money goes to the Red Cross tornado relief.

"They worked for three days," said Keller. "They looked at three different wristband sites, and they pitched the idea to Assistant Principal Carter, and he approved it."

Little did those students know, those orange wristbands would be a hot commodity nationwide. They have already sold about a thousand.

"I contacted the Washing Recovery tornado facebook page, within ten minutes I had 35 emails," said Keller.

"We're selling to Washington DC, Florida, Iowa," said Churchill.

Due to high demand they are buying a thousand more. The wristband company they are working with granted them additional discounts.

"If we sell all $2,000 then these four 8th grade boys will have raised $3200 to help tornado victims and their recovery," added Keller.

Churchill said, "We just wanted to help the community to come back and come strong."

"It feels amazing that we're helping out, and I know they're do the same if we had a catastrophe like this," said Kelly.

It is a band that can't be broken.

If you would like to buy a wristband you can call Morton Junior High School at (309) 266-6522.

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