Wichita teens create crisis backpacks, project to help displaced students

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita high school students are using a class project to give back to their peers in need. It’s all part of a grant competition created by the Wichita Community Foundation to teach students about philanthropy.

Students had to develop an idea for a grant that would benefit their school. They then made videos demonstrating the need for the grant and how they would use the money.

Meg Huchingson is a Senior at Wichita Heights High School. She helped write a grant for school crisis backpacks.

“It’s just kind of like to be prepared in case something ever does happen,” said Meg Huchingson.

Right now, if a disaster were to strike at the high school, only the school nurse has medical supplies.

“It doesn’t help if the nurse is on one side of the school and you need help on the other,” said Lexie Love, a Senior at Wichita Heights.

That’s why the girls submitted a grant to add crisis backpacks to all 17 hallways of their school. The backpacks are filled with different supplies including, a tarp, duck tape, medical tape, gauze, water and playing cards.

“We have so many disasters and drills and lock downs and recently earthquakes and tornado stuff, so it’s just kind of like to be prepared in case something ever does happen,” Huchingson said.

“If we do have a big disaster, it’s not possible for the nurse to get to everybody, so it helps in a small way,” Love said.

The Wichita Community Foundation granted Wichita Heights High School a total of $2,000. Half of the money will go toward a second project focused on helping displaced students.

“We wanted to give them backpacks and T-shirts just to make them feel part of our community and welcome here,” said Wichita Heights High School Junior Hannah Howard.

While it may not sound like much, Howard said many students at Heights High School cannot afford simple school supplies or extra clothing.

“We have heard stories of students who have come to Heights from a rival school and the only clothes they had were T-shirts from that rival school, so they didn’t feel comfortable being at Heights, so kind of excluded, so providing them a T-shirt might help them feel more welcome here and apart of our student body,” Howard said.

“We want them to feel like they are welcome here and that we will take care of them,” said Wichita Heights High School Junior Brittasha Banks.

The Wichita Community Foundation awarded grants to seven Wichita high schools, totaling more than $15,000.

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