Tomball FFA raises $7,500 for victims of disaster in West

The Friday following an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 14 people and injured more than 160, students and educators with the Tomball FFA jumped to action. Through a series of fundraisers and gift card drives, the group managed to raise approximately $7,500 to aid the victims in their recovery.

"It was an event that affected the entire state," said Garrett Ware, Tomball FFA member who is slated to be the organization's president next year. "We felt especially close to the people there because there are so many of us who have friends and family in West."

The effort started with a gift card drive on April 19 focused on places like Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart, said Jessica Reeves, an agriscience instructor with Tomball FFA. After speaking with people in West, it became clear that they were most in need of supplies and tools to help with the rebuilding process, she said. Approximately 150 buildings were damaged, including many homes and three of West's four schools.

The fundraising effort took on a whole new scope, however, when Ware came up with an idea to get the Tomball community more involved.

"I thought, why can't we just work something out with Lowe's where we can set up a table in front of the Tomball store and ask people for donations there?" he said. "A fundraiser at our school will only raise so much money because students can only donate so much. Why not get the whole community involved?"

Ware, a junior at Tomball High School, pitched his idea to the rest of the Tomball FFA. On April 21—just two days later—the table was up at Lowe's and ready to go.

"The kids stood outside Lowe's for five hours and collected $2,600 just that one day," Reeves said. "We were so successful that we decided to continue the drive through Friday of last week."

Several other school organizations got involved over the course of the week, including the Tomball High School student council and Red Cross Club. Tomball Memorial High School also contributed $1,000 to the cause, Reeves said.

"The whole thing was really kind of put together at the last minute," Reeves said. "We didn't advertise that much. I sent an email out to teachers at the high school and to the FFA Booster Club. Through teachers and parents and donors outside of Lowe's we managed to raise around $7,500 over the course of seven days."

Ware said he was both impressed and inspired by how the Tomball community responded to the West disaster.

"What we thought was just going to be a Tomball FFA gift card drive turned into a big community-wide event," he said. "I just hope the money we raised helps the families rebuild their homes and get back on their feet."

By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Friso and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

The FM 1488 corridor through the city of Magnolia is slated to be under construction for the next 2-3 years, widening FM 1488 from two to four lanes through downtown, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. New residential and commercial development has yielded increased traffic. While the project is poised to improve mobility, the TxDOT project has already brought challenges for business owners who have forfeited parking spaces, for example, ahead of the corridor expansion. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)
FM 1488 widening east of city of Magnolia to begin

The long-discussed widening of FM 1488 eastward through the heart of Magnolia is nearing its start, and while the project is expected to improve mobility, it has been met with concerns from businesses owners losing their parking and signage.

Data from the 2020 decennial census released in September by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how residential populations within cities, school district boundaries and counties have changed over the last two decades. Local demographics have also changed as more residents have moved to the Tomball and Magnolia areas. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Data by the decade: Here's how demographics have changed in Tomball, Magnolia since 2000

The number of residents in Montgomery County and the city of Magnolia have more than doubled since 2000 with the populations of every other locality growing at least 15% from 2010-20.

From left: Laura Ryan, Eliza Paul and Craig Raborn discuss the future of the Texas Department of Transportation. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Department of Transportation discusses I-45 expansion, vehicle fatalities at annual event

The Texas Department of Transportation held its fifth annual State of TxDOT event Oct. 21 to discuss the I-45 expansion, plans for the future and safety issues facing Texans.

The Montgomery County Animal Shelter closed down several services for two months to deal with a distemper outbreak. (Jishnu Nair/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County Animal Shelter reopens stray animal intake

The county shelter closed down several services for two months to deal with a distemper outbreak.

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

The ACLU of Texas filed a lawsuit against Magnolia ISD Oct. 21 over the district's gender-based hair policy. (Community Impact staff)
American Civil Liberties Union of Texas sues Magnolia ISD over gender-based hair policy

The lawsuit alleges the district's policy violates the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX.

The Big Show will take place Oct. 23 in Tomball. It was previously scheduled to be in Montgomery. (Courtesy Woodforest)
The Big Show, high school football: 6 events to attend in Tomball, Magnolia on Oct. 22-24

Other events this weekend include three different fall festivals and a concert featuring student bands.

Tomball City Council approved resolutions concerning Pine Woods and Pine Trails subdivisions Oct 18. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Tomball City Council approves resolutions affecting two neighborhoods

Pine Woods and Pine Trails were both the subjects of City Council resolutions Oct. 18.

The Big Show will take place on Oct. 23 in Tomball. It was previously scheduled to be in Montgomery. (Courtesy Woodforest)
The Big Show relocates from Woodforest to Tomball for Oct. 23 concert

Previously reported as canceled, The Big Show is relocating to the Tomball Historic Depot Plaza on Oct. 23.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.