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Hickman students donate comfort kits

We thought that we may be able to make a difference here locally when families experience disasters.

Members of the Hickman High School Red Cross Club didn’t want to use their time in the club as a footnote in the yearbook listing their activities. They formed the club to take an active role in their efforts to support the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter.

"We started this Red Cross Club after seeing so many major disasters like the Joplin tornado on TV and realizing the importance of disaster preparedness and response,” said Junyi Wu, the club president. “We thought that we may be able to make a difference here locally when families experience disasters.”

Club members made a big difference with a fundraising event that brought in $1,043.10, which they used to purchase 416 Red Cross comfort kits.

“We focused this fundraiser on comfort kits because they are much-needed items that families receive as gifts when they've just lost their homes,” Wu, a sophomore at Hickman said. “We are happy to be able to support so many lives!"

Comfort kits, which contain personal hygiene items, are part of the items Red Cross disaster action team members take with them when responding to a disaster, such as a house fire, flood or storm. Each person affected by the disaster receives a comfort kit.

“Many persons affected by a disaster will benefit from the efforts of these young men and women,” said Clayton Kennedy, the chapter’s community market manager who also is liaison to the club. “This was a tremendous effort by a group of young people who genuinely want to help the Red Cross help others.”

Ten of the club members and their sponsor, Dr. Virginia Lennon, a teacher at Hickman, formally presented the comfort kits to the chapter Tuesday afternoon at the school.

“We are always in need of comfort kits and these young people really did us a great service with this donation,” said Phillip Iman, a chapter disaster specialist who coordinates volunteer responses. “It is something special when people this age take the time and make the effort to do something that benefits others.”

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at