Treynor School donation

Bernie Wagoner (left) of Southwest Iowa Families receives a check from Treynor Middle School Principal Jenny Berens (right).

(Treynor) -- The Treynor Community School District is the latest area entity to assist victims of Missouri River flooding.

School officials recently presented a check for $6,160.86 to Southwest Iowa Families and the Flood Victims Back to School Relief Fund. Treynor Middle School Principal Jenny Berens tells KMA News students and staff in the district raised money last spring.

"This involved K-12 students and staff members and our whole goal or our push was just for the kids and staff to bring in their loose change and/or bills to try to reach this goal," said Berens. "Our local bank -- Treynor State Bank Community Foundation -- agreed to hold those donations for us."

Berens says the original intent of the fundraiser was to raise money for the Glenwood community when the city's water plant was shut down. After raising the money, Berens says area businesses had donated so much water to Glenwood, that they decided to hold off with their donation. She says they discovered the Southwest Iowa Families effort over the summer.

"The organization felt that the best way to utilize the money that we had raised was to give it to the families to help them for back to school items for those kids, including clothing," said Berens.

The Southwest Iowa Families initiative has identified approximately 300 children who have been displaced by flooding along the Missouri River. The program aims to give each child $100 to assist with back-to-school shopping. Berens says getting kids ready for a new school year is difficult enough on its own, but adding in flooding creates a nightmare for some families.

"It's just absolutely terrible to think of all these families that literally lost everything," said Berens. "We had a really nice conversation with Southwest Iowa Families when they were here and just what they've heard from these kids. It just breaks your heart for these families and kids, you know at a different level. They're not understanding everything. So we're just really really happy that we could help in a small way with the donation we made."

Berens says the effort can teach students in Treynor a valuable lesson about community and giving back.

"We really do try to push in our school that we need to help other communities," said Berens.

That's the life lesson. We do that several times throughout the year. We do things with Open Door Mission just to communicate to our kids that it's always important to help others around us that are in need and eventually it may be us that needs the help as well. And we hope other communities -- and we witnessed that with other communities -- reach out to us as well. So we're all family. We're all in it together."

In addition to raising money last spring, Berens says the athletic department in Treynor was able to donate clothing and other goods to flood victims in Glenwood.

"The booster club members, coaches, athletes and other community members all worked hard," said Berens.

"On that one night alone, They end up with three full enclosed trailer loads and five truckloads of items that were donated to the Mills County Storehouse. Plus a whole bus full of student athletes followed those items down there and they unloaded those items."

The donation from the Treynor School District will help over 60 kids with back-to-school expenses in the Glenwood, Sidney, Fremont-Mills and Hamburg school districts.