Community raises funds and salvages school supplies for fire recovery at Fox Elementary

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Days after a large fire 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 amazing,” said Ty Toepke, chief executive of the Richmond Education Foundation. “A mentor once told me that fundraising lets you see people at their best, and I think that’s one of the best examples of that overwhelming desire to help.”

Toepke said the money would be used to meet the needs of students and teachers after the devastating fire.

“Part of that will be immediate, and part of it will be later, and part of our job is to stay flexible that way.”

Companies are also stepping in to meet this need, including Sugar Shack Donuts.

On their social media page, the store said it would collect school supplies and provide free lunches and donuts to teachers, students and families at Fox Elementary School at their two locations in Richmond and North Chesterfield.

“They are part of the community. They’re five minutes from our store,” said Maggie Horning, general manager of the Sugar Shack Donuts location in Richmond. “It’s something our company has always wanted to give back.”

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

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

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

This former public school teacher receives messages from others in the community to rally 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 Fox Elementary student, teacher, or parent; go through what we’ve all been through during the pandemic and then burn their beloved school down,” Halstead said.

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