School Sends Help to Houston

An effort to ship clothing and toys for children
Beatrice Flight donned a chef’s hat while her older sister, Scarlett, supervised as the two prepared for a bake sale at the Montauk School to help Houston’s Fonwood Early Childhood Center recover from Hurricane Harvey. Judy D’Mello

Over dinner two weeks ago, 8-year-old Beatrice Flight of Montauk discussed wanting to help residents in storm-battered islands such as Puerto Rico and Barbuda. Her 11-year-old sister, Scarlett, however, suggested doing something for Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston. 

As it happened, the Montauk School principal, Jack Perna, had already contacted the Houston Independent School District and offered help wherever needed. The Houston district matched the Montauk school with the Fonwood Early Childhood Center in downtown Houston, one of some 200 schools in the area to be impacted by the hurricane. Mr. Perma called the center’s principal, Kimberly Agnew, and asked for a list of necessities for her 3 and 4-year-old students. Ms. Agnew told Mr. Perna that underwear, socks, clothes, and, of course, toys, were top priority.

Coincidentally, Beatrice and a fellow third grader, Carli Stuckhart, knocked on the principal’s door around the same time and announced that they had a plan to help Hurricane Harvey victims. 

“We could do a bake sale,” Beatrice said, “and make a lot of money to send to someone so that they could buy whatever they needed.”

Sure, said Mr. Perna, and told the duo that as long as they organized the event and did all the work, the idea had the green light. While the principal enlisted Montauk’s honor roll students to collect donations of the clothing items needed, Beatrice and Carli set the date for the after-school bake sale — Sept. 20 and last Thursday — which gave them only three days to pull it all together.

“These two girls were amazing,” said Mr. Perna. “They organized everything from scheduling, to making the posters, to the actual baking, and even cleaning up.”

Beatrice’s mother, Georgia Biondo, helped spread the word among parents, asking for donations of baked goods. “Many parents across the grades did the baking,” she said. “Scarlett, Bea, and I made cake pops, brownies, and Rice Krispie treats. And there were lots of cookies, of course.” 

The two-day bake sale landed the young fund-raisers $620, which will be sent to the school next week along with a care package of requested clothing items, and toys donated by the Montauk Fire Department.

Mr. Perna called the two third graders, “very impressive young wo­men,” then added, “I know my students. Someone is probably already working on doing something for Florida and the Caribbean islands.”