Ray kids lend holiday helping hand to tornado victims in Washington, Ill.

Staff Writer

Ray Elementary School student Aiden Goldberg led his 4th grade class in an effort to send care packages to victims of the recent tornado outbreak in Washington, Ill., last month.

On Nov. 17, several towns in the Midwest were ravaged by tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. The effects of the strong winds and rain included uprooted trees, flattened neighborhoods, injuries and even deaths.

On Friday, Nov. 22, students at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., packed boxes with letters of encouragement and books and toys donated by Toys Et Cetera, 1502 E. 55th St., that the Goldbergs sent to Central Intermediate Elementary School, 1301 Eagle Ave., Washington, Ill.

Andrea Goldberg, Aiden Goldberg’s mother, said the idea to ask his school to help the victims stemmed from the volunteer efforts that were taking place at home.

“After news that the tornado hit, we opened up our home as a drop-off spot for donations,” Andrea Goldberg said.

She said Aiden Goldberg asked if he could write a letter and then asked if he could ask the students in his class to write letters. Aiden Goldberg’s teacher, Jennifer Weinman, liked the idea and Nancy Stanek, owner of Toys Et Cetera, contributed to the effort by donating 32 toys to accompany the letters.

The class filled several five-gallon bins with donations. The books, letters and toys will be sent to the school. Additional items collected by the family were sent to shelters in the Washington, Ill., area.

“We just want the children in Washington know that they are being thought of,” said Andrea Goldberg, who said the family traveled to Washington, Ill., on the week of Thanksgiving to volunteer.