Ten-year-old Reagan Artis and 5-year-old Journey Hoehn always loved to giggle. Back in the good old days, they made videos about things like how to apply makeup.

Now they have a more serious mission: helping other kids hit by last week’s floods.

They were spared, unlike other Elkview residents who lost everything in the flash flooding, but the experience had a profound effect on them.

The two Bridge Elementary Student students are using their technological talents to help fellow classmates and other students hit by the devastating waters.

Reagan is entering the fifth grade, while Journey will be in kindergarten.

They’ve posted a video to Facebook and YouTube to collect new backpacks and school supplies to give to students in the four counties hardest hit by the flash flooding, including Kanawha, Clay, Nicholas and Greenbrier.

Even when their community was still under water, Reagan began to worry about the coming school year and how kids would manage.

“Just by looking around, the stuff at the schools and people’s houses, you could really see how bad it was because they didn’t have anything left. So me and Journey just thought of a way to help some of the kids,” she said.

School is scheduled to start August 8 in Kanawha County.

One family was especially hard hit.

“My friend’s house went down the (Elk) river and got torn up and got wrapped around a tree,” she said.
“I thought about how they lost everything. They have nothing now.”

It’s equally upsetting at her school because the technology is also gone, and that’s something she will miss when classes resume.

“It’s bad, pretty here. But I think we can help make it better,” she said.

Heather Hoehn said she is proud of her young daughter and Reagan for caring so much about making a difference.

“They knew there would be lots of kids who wouldn’t have anything to take back to school. And that would be really hard for the little ones like Journey who were going to school for the first time,” she said.

Board of education officials have already been contacted and each county will receive one quarter of the donated items, she said.

“We want going back to school to be as happy as possible for the kids, and this will be one less thing for the adults to have to worry about,” she said.

“I mean school is going to start in just about a month, and people are still just now demolishing their houses, so they aren’t going to be able to take time or have extra funds for buying the school stuff kids need,” she said.

Patti Duncan, Reagan’s grandmother, said she believes great things will happen as a result of this backpack drive.

“We even sent Donald Trump an email, because we want to get anybody and everybody we can to help,” she said.

HOW TO HELP

  • No donation is too small. Or too big. Basic items like paper, pencils, pens, crayons, notebooks and folders are needed.
  • Donations can be dropped off at the Elkview Dairy Queen, 921 Main St., Elkview.

“Even if we just get enough to help one kid, that’s still something special,” she said.

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