By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 19, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.(WCTV) -- As more than 100 students from Parkland, Florida prepare to arrive in Tallahassee, locals are doing their part to support the teens.
Dozens of volunteers dropped off snacks and water at Saint John's Episcopal Church Monday to help Moms Demand Action build care packages for the arriving students. The food will be given to the teens, as well as stock comfort stations at the Capitol, over the next two days.
The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have organized the trip all on their own.
The first group of students will arrive in Tallahassee Monday evening. They'll meet with lawmakers at the Capitol on Tuesday.
Then, the second group will arrive to the Civic Center where they'll be staying on Tuesday evening around 8:15 p.m. Together, all the students will take part in a rally at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Beth Dumond, with Moms Demanding Action, said their role, along with that of other local organizations, is to simply support and make sure the teens have whatever they need.
"Hearing these young voices, we're just standing back and letting them tell their story because it's impactful, and it's important, and they don't need to hear from us, they need to hear from people on the ground. And all we can do is support them and give them what they need," she said.
An online signup sheet was set up over the weekend, allowing residents to volunteer to donate various items for the students including apples, chips, water, plates, candy and more.
"I went to sign up last night and as I was signing up, the category I was signing up for got full. There was so many people on there
trying to help, which is encouraging," said Amy Kirkpatrick, who dropped off fruit on Monday.
Even some of the youngest people donating recognized the pain caused by last week's shooting and said helping the teens was "the right thing to do."
"I'm pretty sure they deserve that. Because they went through a really hard time," said 9-year-old Ava Gerson. "It's kind of like when you watch a scary movie and it makes you scared for a few more days.
It's kind of like that. When something like that happens, you get scared. Like what's going to happen to my future?"
Gerson dropped off food with her grandmother. She, along with others who donated, said they hope the care packages show the students that Tallahassee cares.
"I just hope it shows that Tallahassee supports them, the country supports them, we as individuals support them," said Mary Lou Skelley.