Piper Davis, fourth grader, leads Afghan relief effort

Piper Davis, fourth grader, leads Afghan relief effort
Piper Davis

Piper Davis, fourth grader at Hendricks Avenue Elementary, led an Afghan relief effort. She collected monetary donations from classmates to buy personal and household items for refugee families who are resettling in Jacksonville.

At the beginning of the school year, Davis was assigned the role of “Community Outreach Leader.” Many of her ideas for leading the class in reaching out to the community and helping a cause were not possible due to COVID protocols. Activities such as bake sales and lemonade stands are currently restricted. So, Davis thought bigger than that.

She heard in a service at River City Church about a local nonprofit organization, Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida (LSS), that helps refugee communities. Her mom, Leighton Davis, contacted LSS directly to get a list of refugee families’ needs. But again, due to pandemic restrictions, Davis would not be allowed to collect in the classroom physical items from fellow students. But what she could do was collect money from them to be used toward the purchase of new items that could then be donated to LSS to help support their local efforts. Davis thought this would be a great first project for her class! Her teachers, Joy Kettel and Patricia Henderson, agreed.

“Students were encouraged to do chores to earn their own money for donations.” said Leighton Davis. And that they did. Together, the class raised over $1,000.

Joy Kettel, Piper Davis, and Chloe Tutt
Joy Kettel, Piper Davis, and Chloe Tutt

With the assistance of her mom, a teacher, and a classmate, Davis went shopping. As most refugees arrive with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, the list was long. It consisted of basic wardrobe items like underwear and socks, household items like towels and soap, and games and toys for children. What the class is most proud of purchasing are two Chromebooks, which had been requested by two Afghan women who desire to learn English online so that they can get jobs. 

In addition to collecting monetary donations, Davis and her classmates created welcome notes to be given to the arriving Afghan children along with the purchased supplies that were dropped off at LSS.

LSS is assisting the refugee community by setting them up in furnished apartments. There is a need for new or slightly used furniture, including mattresses, that, for now, is beyond what Davis and her fourth-grade class can help supply. Residents looking to assist can contact Laura Cook via the LSS website: www.LSSJAX.org.

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