It was just last Thursday morning that a two-car accident on Highway 59 south of Denison claimed the lives of three women and injured two men.
The tragedy affected the entire community, and perhaps nowhere more so than at the buildings of the Denison Community School District.
All four school buildings have students with a parent who was killed or injured in the accident.
The staff at the four school buildings is responding to the needs of the families by organizing a fundraiser.
A spaghetti and pupusa dinner will take place from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13, in the lunch room at Denison Elementary (20th Street) School.
Free-will donations will be taken and to-go meals will be available.
The money given will be split among the three families that have children in the Denison Community School buildings.
Those who are not able to attend the fundraiser and would like to donate may take a donation to one of the school buildings or they may take donations to United Bank of Iowa in Denison to be deposited in the DLG Families Fund.
The planning for the fundraiser began on Monday, and on Tuesday the quickly-organized fundraising committee met.
“Representatives from each of the buildings rallied together and split up the duties of asking for donations, organizing helpers to come in and picking up donations,” said Erin Plagge, a third grade teacher at Denison Elementary and the person in charge of the fundraising committee.
“We split all of the duties up to do something big in a very short time.”
A group of women is coming in to make the pupusas and the teaching staff will make the spaghetti.
Food for the dinner has been donated, as well as cash to purchase other food items and supplies.
Staff members from all buildings have volunteered to make bars and dessert, said Plagge.
That means all the money donated Wednesday night at the dinner will go to the three families to help with funeral and medical expenses.
The compassion of the fundraising effort is an extension of what Plagge has seen happen in the school after the accident. She said students at all four buildings have been affected in one way or another.
“The kids have been great, helping each other through this,” she said. “They’ve been very understanding, as much as kids can understand when something like this happens.
“They’ve been great in showing their empathy in helping the students in each building to get through this.”
“What better way to show kids about caring than to do it ourselves,” Plagge added.
The compassion shown by the students and the staff reflects the pillars of character that are studied at Denison Elementary and Broadway Elementary schools.
The six pillars are trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, citizenship, and most needed at this time, caring.