‘It’s just been unbelievable’: Community raises money, collects school supplies for Fox Elementary fire recovery

The community is rallying support for teachers, students and staff at Fox Elementary School...
The community is rallying support for teachers, students and staff at Fox Elementary School after a large fire on Friday.(NBC12 | NBC12)
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 6:33 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2022 at 11:26 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Days after a large blaze damaged William Fox Elementary School in Richmond, community members are stepping up to lend a helping hand to teachers, staff, students and their families.

“It’s just been unbelievable,” said Ty Toepke, executive director for the Richmond Education Foundation. “I once had a mentor tell me that fundraising lets you see people at their best, and I think that’s one of the best examples of that of just this overwhelming desire to help.”

Toepke said the money would be used to fill gaps of need for students and teachers after this devastating fire.

“Some of that will be immediate, and some of that will be down the road, and part of our job is to remain flexible in that way.”

Businesses are also stepping in to fulfill this need, including Sugar Shack Donuts.

On their social media page, the shop said they would be collecting school supplies and offering free meals and donuts to teachers, students and families from Fox Elementary School at both of their locations in Richmond and North Chesterfield.

“They’re part of the community. They’re five minutes away from our shop,” said Maggie Horning, general manager for the Sugar Shack Donuts location in Richmond. “It’s something our company has always been about is giving back.”

Members of the community are also lending a helping hand to this cause, including Ann Marie Halstead and her neighbor, Amy Foster.

On Saturday, the pair decided to start raising money to provide Amazon gift cards to teachers from Fox Elementary to rebuild and replace what was damaged inside their classrooms.

“We’re about 30 gift cards away from giving every teacher at Fox Elementary $150 in Amazon gift cards,” Halstead said. “We also have some gifts and surprises to put inside those gift bags.”

This former public school teacher is getting messages from others in the community to rally behind teachers, staff, and students and provide them with the materials they need to move forward.

“I can’t even really imagine what it’s like to be a student, a teacher or a parent from Fox Elementary; to go through what we’ve all gone through during the pandemic and then have their beloved school burn down,” Halstead said.

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