Donations pour from Aspen High | AspenTimes.com

Donations pour from Aspen High

John Colson

Aspen High School juniors, from left, Alayne Kane, 16, Alicia Leto, 16, Lauren Lacy, 16, and Sara Faurer, 16, unload a van full of donated items from Aspen Village on Sunday afternoon. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

Students at Aspen High School will soon be loading a tractor-trailer with some 500 cardboard cartons of clothing and other supplies bound for a lucky town near New Orleans.And a few days later, two representatives from the high school will fly to Louisiana to meet the truck, oversee its unloading and check out the process for distributing the goods to those who need them.The cartons – filled mainly with shoes, T-shirts, pants and other items of clothing – are destined for Lafayette, La., which suffered only minimal damage from hurricanes that hit the region recently and devastated many communities large and small.

But the people of Lafayette are having to deal with a flood of refugees from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.The students stressed that they have collected more than enough clothing and other supplies but need money to buy school supplies and children’s books to send.The school supplies have already been obtained, at a discounted price from City Market, said Aspen High college advisor Kathy Klug, a sponsor of the project. But money is needed to pay for them.

The Aspen Cares-Katrina Relief project has been going on for several weeks now, ever since Aspen High junior Alayne Kane decided that rather than go on an Experiential Education trip into the wilderness in early September, she should be doing something to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.So she and Klug got together and came up with the plan to send a shipment of goods to Lafayette, which Klug found through the international organization Teachers Across Borders. Klug has volunteered with the organization, and when Teachers Across Borders got an appeal for help from a harried Louisiana teacher, Vicki Hebet of Northside High School in Lafayette, the organization called Klug.Thursday afternoon, the Aspen High football team will be loading a tractor-trailer rented from the Columbine Moving & Storage Co. The company discounted the rental rate, Kane said, and donated the hundreds of large moving cartons being used in the effort.Next week, a high school football team in Lafayette will unload the truck, to keep transport costs to a minimum. And both Klug and Kane will be there. They are flying Monday to Lafayette, thanks to tickets donated by Kane’s father, John, who has been helping with his daughter’s cause.

Contributions to the effort have included everything from cases of athletic shoes donated by Lenny “Boogie” Weinglass, which Kane said was basically his entire remaining stock of summer shoes, to bags of clothing collected at local grocery stores, schools and the Aspen fire station.Kane said donations collected along with the clothing have paid for the $2,800 truck rental fee. But the drive has shifted gears. Both Kane and Klug appealed to local residents to donate money so school supplies and books can be purchased and sent to schools in the region.One of those involved in the AHS Katrina relief effort is Katrina Devore, whose name has brought her a good bit of friendly ribbing since the storm hit. But Devore said her mom, longtime local Karinjo Devore, joined others in suggesting she might do as many woman named Katrina reportedly have done in recent weeks – change her name to Kat. She has declined.

Katrina Devore, who initially joined the Aspen Cares effort to raise money to pay the transportation costs, stressed that now the need is for cash to buy supplies for students. She noted that the storm flooded school libraries, and that books and basic school supplies are sorely needed.”We want money,” Devore said bluntly. “Every cent we get will help.” According to Klug, Devore had collected $100 in donations toward the total $784 for the school supplies by Tuesday. Those interested in donating should contact Aspen High School, 925-3760, ext. 1120.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com