MONTROSE – Students in Amber Cox's second-grade class at Cottonwood Elementary school have been learning about weather and its effect on people, plants and animals worldwide.
Following the early-November landfall of typhoon Haiyan on the Philippine islands, a group of Cox's students began rallying friends and family to send local support to aid the storm's victims.
The typhoon, three-and-a-half times stronger than Hurricane Katrina, was categorized as the largest of its kind to ever to strike land; it has affected at least 12 million people.
While the damage was still fresh and water continuing to recede, the plight of thousands of people without food, water or shelter resonated with Cox's students, who spent recess, on Monday, Nov. 11, asking each other for donations of any kind, food, water, money – anything to help.
They came in from recess asking their teacher how they could help.
By Wednesday, calling themselves the Crispy Club – "people were hearing crispy leaves, so one of us came up with the Crispy Club," said second grade student Mia Duncan – the group was creating posters to spread the word about fundraising for Haiyan victims.
Mia's parents, Adam and Yesenia Duncan, offered their volunteered their A+Y Design Gallery and Downtown Gelato at 513 East Main Street as headquarters for the fundraising. Upon discovering that shipping canned goods to the Philippines was prohibitively expensive, the Crispy Club began fundraising for financial donations to send to the Red Cross. Mia Duncan spoke at a well-attended Ignite Montrose at Two Rascals Brewing Company on Thursday, Nov. 14, soliciting donations.
"They’re going bananas for it," said Cottonwood principal Jeff Johnson, of the Crispy Club. "Their world is friends, family and school. For them to take it past Montrose, past Colorado and past the United States is really something. None of them have any connections to the Philippines, I don't think. It speaks a lot to what their parents are doing to educate them, in an age-appropriate manner, about tragedies.”
Cox said that thanks to the Crispy Club, all of her students now understand the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane. "I thought it was a real sweet, generous idea. And I wanted to support them any way I could," Cox said.
Anyone wishing to donate to the American Red Cross relief efforts can drop off cash or a check, with the words “Philippines Disaster Relief” in the memo section, at A+Y, 513 W. Main St., now through Dec. 15.