LOS LUNAS — Students at Los Lunas and Valencia high schools are collecting donations, such as non-perishable food and phone chargers, for several Florida high schools devastated by Hurricane Ian last month.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude and I am overwhelmed with humility that my hometown, where I grew up, after being devastated by the hurricane; and my hometown, where I am living now, is just willing to pour out so much generosity to help another community that’s in need,” said Heather Ridley, a digital learning coach with Los Lunas Schools.

“… It’s the power of having one small idea and how it can blossom when we all come together.”

Makayla Grijalva | News-Bulletin photo
Students from Lending a Paw Club at Los Lunas High School make signs of support for Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Fla., to hang during the football game on Friday against Clovis.

Ridley attended Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Fla., where the eye of the storm idled over for hours after Hurricane Ian made landfall at the end of September.

She reached out to her colleague at the school, asking what they needed before approaching the Lending a Paw Club about holding a drive.

Los Lunas High School will continue to collect donations all week for Ridley’s alma mater, culminating in the student section donning blue and gold, along with the school’s mascot stickers during the football game on Friday night against Clovis.

Valencia High School National Honor Society and student government are both sponsoring the other two high schools in Charlotte County hit by the storm — Port Charlotte and Lemon Bay high schools.

Donations of non-perishable snacks, books and portable phone charges can be dropped off at either high school until Friday, Oct. 28.

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.