For those of you who aren’t aware, on May 22, 2011 an EF-5 tornado devastated the city of Joplin, MO. Roughly 25% percent of Joplin was damaged when the tornado struck, and over 160 people lost their lives that day. Joplin High School was among the 2,000 buildings that were destroyed—a school that was home to a thriving FBLA chapter.
The tornado left the city of Joplin reeling, as well as the rest of the world. People all over were left wondering what they could do to help, and Missouri FBLA was no different. Members across the state were ready and willing to help out, so when we were approached about a “feet on the ground” effort to replenish Joplin trees, there was no question about it—MO FBLA was ready to get down and dirty.
On May 5, 2012, over 800 FBLA members from across the state of Missouri assembled in Joplin to take part in what would be one of Missouri FBLA’s largest community service projects to date. After almost a year of hard work on this project, FBLA members from 150 chapters were able to raise nearly $25,000 to aid in the replanting of trees that had been lost in the storm. Residents of the city were able to visit www.rootingforjoplin.org and request trees to be planted at their homes. As an organization, we had over 60 chapters send volunteers to help with the planting efforts—some who had to travel distances of six hours or more. By the end of day, Missouri FBLA had replenished 1,200 trees—almost 10% of those lost in the storm. In addition, $5,000 was donated to Joplin High School to aid in the landscaping of their new high school.
At the end of the day, everyone involved in the effort was exhausted, but proud. Those members had made a difference in the lives of others, and showed the rest of the world what FBLA members are really made of!