The Harrison family of Roseville celebrated Christmas Eve 2021 in the parking lot of Chippewa Valley High School, collecting gifts not for themselves but for the tornado-ravaged town of Mayfield, Ky.
The Harrisons have family ties to Mayfield, Ky., The town devastated by a tornado on December 10, 2021. Roger Harrison’s parents lived in the Detroit area and are deceased, but were both from Mayfield, Ky. Many friends and relatives of the Harrisons still reside in and around Mayfield. Roger Harrison, his wife Carla Harrison, his daughter Emma Harrison and his brother Richard Harrison set out to develop and run a collection of items needed for those affected.
“My parents and I have family in Kentucky that was badly affected by the tornadoes,” said Emma Harrison. “Seeing so many people suffer so much hurt us, and we wanted to do what we could to help them. “
Emma Harrison is a 17 year old from Chippewa Valley High School. Roger Harrison contacted CVHS Director Todd Distelrath on December 13, 2021, asking him to collect donated items for the cause at the high school. Distelrath approved the plan and together they determined how the collections of objects could be accepted in the school both within the school community and the community at large.
Distelrath also ensured that the school community was informed of the collections via school announcements and online. Roger Harrison said after the announcements, parents and local churches have reached out to offer support for the item collection effort.
“The administrative staff and custodian were very helpful in sending out email announcements and helping us manage Parents’ donations at Chippewa Valley High School on December 20th. to organize and store donations and to help us collect donations from the public on Christmas Eve, ”said Roger Harrison. “We also asked a student from the choir to help us pack the truck on Christmas Eve. Director Distelrath has always been a great support and a great help with his leadership and kindness.
The collection was taken over on December 21 and 24.
“It was important that the high school campus was closed and that all students and staff were off campus by the time the public was invited to arrive to donate, in order to avoid traffic restrictions and security reasons. “said Roger Harrison. “I booked the Enterprise rental truck for the first time available and the 24 was the best they could do on short notice. Also, I work full time, and this was the first day I had to volunteer my time.
In-demand items like those that residents of Mayfield, Ky. Needed most were food, toiletries, hygiene products, baby food, diapers, pet food, flashlights, extension cords and tarps.
“Two churches contacted us telling us that they had important gifts for us, however, they would not be able to meet the December 24 date,” said Roger Harrison. “I personally drove my 20 foot enclosed trailer to each church, collected their donations and stored them in a heated warehouse. “
St. Martin’s Church in Porres in Warren donated on December 19, 2021 and Heritage Church Sterling Heights Campus in Sterling Heights donated on December 21, 2021.
“Our family personally donated approximately $ 3,000 of our own money from which we purchased many of the list items in stores and added to existing donations,” said Roger Harrison.
Roger Harrison drove a 26-foot Enterprise box truck loaded with 13,500 pounds of donation to the Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield, Ky. The truck was loaded on Christmas Day and he and his family began the ride on December 26, 2021.
“After the Christmas Eve collection, my parents and I spent Christmas Day packing the leftover items in the truck we had stored at home,” said Emma Harrison.
The family arrived on December 26, the truck was unloaded the next day and was then used to move items to the church.
More information on Harrison’s Mayfield, Ky. Fundraising can be found at facebook.com/Mayfield-Kentucky-Donation-Drive-103422565539385.