Amy Cunningham
Just over a month ago the city of Joplin, Mo. was ravaged by the deadliest and one of the most destructive single tornadoes in United States’ history.
In the town of just over 50,000 residents, little was left untouched by the storm – trees and cars were twisted together, homes were destroyed and lives were forever changed. Since that time volunteers and community members have pulled together to restore the town and the lives of those who remain.
People interested in helping Joplin residents need look no further than the City of Gardner.
Margaret Drovetta, wife of Gardner Mayor David Drovetta, hopes her new program, “Shoppin’ for Joplin”, will help bring a sense of normalcy to students in the Joplin school District when classes start up this fall. Drovetta plans to collect school and classroom supplies to send to the district.
“When the kids start school this fall many of them will be in temporary buildings,” said Drovetta.
Learning about children whose lives are forever changed by the tornado struck a chord with the mother of four and inspired her to help. She said that many of the student’s home lives have also been affected by the destruction.
“So much was damaged; even the stores they shop in were destroyed by the tornado.”
To help the children of Joplin the city will be collecting school supplies to distribute to the Joplin School District. Drovetta said all supplies are needed for grade levels kindergarten through 12. These include, but are not limited to: paper, notebooks, crayons, pencils, pens, scissors, folders, paints, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks and binders.
Drovetta said that the city would be accepting donations
in bins to be set up at Gardner City Hall and the Gardner Chamber of Commerce offices during normal business hours. She also plans to have receptacles placed throughout the annual Fourth of July Celebration held at Gardner Edgerton High School on July 4. The collection will continue through July 31.
Officials from the Joplin School District said they hope to start school on Aug. 17 as scheduled. Doing so will be no small feat, the district sustained incredible damage, including the total loss of the district technology center, one elementary school and the district’s only high school. Insurance companies continue to assess the damage at two of the district’s middle schools and an additional elementary school. Significant damage and repairs will be needed at one elementary school and the district’s administration building.
Joplin Schools educate nearly 8,000 students and employ 1,100 staff. Prior to the storm the district consisted of 13 elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school and one technical center.
For more information, contact Margaret Drovetta at (913) 856-6463 or