Reflections on our Community

Last week (June 18), our Director, Sandi Thomas, shared a message with the Clover Hill Show Choir family regarding her trip to the West Virginia area that recently was severely hit with what has been called a 1,000 year flood. The Clover Hill Show Choir’s efforts to use their show choir trailer to carry relief goods to the area caught on like wildfire. Here are the highlights of this story:

I just wanted to update the Clover Hill Show Choir family about our Stuff the Truck WV Donation Drive.

On June 23, just as we were ending our Dominion Show Choir Camp here in Chesterfield, West Virginia was hit by what is now being called the 1000 Year Flood. Homes were washed away, lives were lost, and many families were left homeless.  Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. In the end, of the homes and buildings that remained many were filled with mud and sludge and most of those buildings now have to be torn down. Many families lost everything they had except the clothes on their backs. On June 25, Clover Hill Show Choirs and the Choral Boosters organized Stuff the Truck WV as a way of trying to help.  Our goal quite honestly, was to fill our 45 foot show choir trailer with donations and take it to West Virginia. By Monday, June 28 at 8pm, we had our trailer in place at the Hancock Village Walmart and the donations began to roll in. This is all thanks to the perseverance of Jennett Pulley, our amazing communications chair. Our very first donation was from a member of New Dimensions and CHHS Senior Class President, Kyree. He came with a car full of paper products, water and bleach. After the first 24 hours of accepting donations, it became clear to me that one truck was not going to be enough. Thanks to Mrs. Heather Phelps and her father, we were able to get Walmart to donate a trailer and the driver to pull it. That truck would soon rest right beside ours.

Between the show choir students, choral parents, alumni, the Brandermill Community Association and area churches, our donation site was manned from 9am-8pm for 18 days. A HUGE thank you goes out to Mike Rivenbark who was there everyday from 4-8pm without fail. As well, Jennett Pulley, Amir Khozaei and a dedicated team of Clover Hill Show Choir students were staples throughout those 18 days.  So many of you volunteered, brought donations by, shared it on Facebook and helped us get the word out. Through the help of one of our choral parents, Al Chavez, we were able to set up a 2nd location at Smith Mountain Lake. Al got UPS to donate a third 53 ft. trailer to sit there for donations as well. This past Friday evening, we sponsored a community concert at the Hancock Village Walmart with musicians that came from Nashville. It was a beautiful night to celebrate the generosity of this wonderful community. We pulled our trailer out at the end of the concert and began our journey. Another concert was held at Smith Mountain Lake on Saturday. Between the two sites, we were able to raise $2000 which will go directly to the Herbert Hoover’s Show Choir who lost everything in the flood. At least 16 of their show choir students alone are now homeless. Throughout this process I want to say that the Hancock Village Walmart Manager, Amanda Hairfield went Above and Beyond to make sure that we had all we needed to make our drive a success. She donated 6 pallets of water and then  contacted both Coke and Pepsi to get an additional 4 pallets. She brought out pallets and bins to help us organize donations, donated 2 cakes, tents and so much more the night of the concert. The list of her involvement is endless. Please make sure to stop by the Hancock Village Walmart to show your appreciation! 

There were so many other businesses that came to our aid!   Alisha Rhodes, donated two Budget trucks from her Avis Rental Car location. These two trucks housed our overflow donations while we were waiting on the Walmart trailer. If you ever need a rental vehicle, please speak to Alisha about helping you out. They are a class act business and will definitely treat you right.

The two local Chick-Fil-A franchises reached out to us because of our alumni involvement in their stores. We were able to partner with them to raise $325 for Herbert Hoover’s Show Choir. Thank you to all who went to their spirit nights to support this cause. They also generated over 100 bottles of hand-sanitizer, 10 first aid kits and countless pair of work gloves. Please be sure to say thank you the next time you are in a Chick-Fil-A.

Crista Cruz, the owner of Postnet by Walgreens, who is a Thomas Dale Show Choir parent, donated a beautiful banner to help us advertise our Stuff the Truck event. Please show your appreciation by stopping by with any copying, mailing or printing needs.  Catherine Ham of Keller Williams Realty made a generous monetary donation of $200 which will benefit Herbert Hoover High School directly.  If you are in the need of a real estate broker, please consider showing her agency your support.

On Sunday, July 17 these donations made their way to the people that need them the most.  I sat in the CHHS tractor trailer as we went up and down these two-lane mountain roads, passing mound after mound of what used to be people’s homes. As we rounded those corners, I looked in the mirror and I saw the Clover Hill trailer at every turn.  It brought tears to my eyes because I know that the Clover Hill and Chesterfield community did this. Together, we filled not just one, not two, but three tractor trailers full of donations for the people of West Virginia. All said and done, We are all bringing them over 100,000 pounds of donations that will help them rebuild their lives!

The look on the folks at the donation center’s faces when they saw that a group of high school kids and their families did all of this for THEM will forever be etched in my memory.  Thank you for making that happen.  I would urge you to continue to keep the people of West Virginia in your thoughts and prayers. The donations we have are just a drop in the bucket of what is needed. If you have a scout troop, a youth group or any organization that would like to do community service, feel free to get in touch with me. I will be happy to give you the numbers of people who can put you to work. 💚Sandi💚”

For more background on this story, here is a story as reported by WTVR.

If you are still interested in helping out, in addition to getting in touch with Mrs. Thomas, you can visit the Go Fund Me page for Herbert Hoover’s Show Choir.