SALINEVILLE, Ohio -Southern Local School District and supporters are pitching in to aid the village of East Palestine by collecting water for displaced residents.

Southern Local High School Athletic Director Robert Shansky said the school’s Varsity Club is organizing the effort, and cases of bottled water are being gathered at the high school and elementary buildings through Thursday at 2:30 p.m.. School Resource Officer Deputy Jeff Haugh, who also serves with the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, is expected to make the delivery on Friday.

Ohio town urged to evacuate after train derailment, fearing explosion

Hundreds of people were affected by the train derailment on the village’s outskirts and the East Palestine Middle and High School  gym has served as an emergency shelter for the time being.

“When this happened on Sunday, I called [EPHS Athletic Director] Dwayne Pavkovich and asked what we could do,” Shansky added, saying a planned matchup for the East Ohio Athletic Conference [EOAC] junior high tournament was postponed in light of the incident. “He said they needed water, so I called the Varsity Club officers Rylee Mellott, Ashley Shroades, Esther Forbes and Aleah Bach and said we were going to do this. I also sent word to students in grades 9-12, high school staff and coaches.”

 Donors may drop off their contributions to the school offices. Donations will be accepted until Thursday afternoon. A notification was also sent over social media and 50 cases were acquired as of Tuesday, but hopes are to fill the high school marching band’s box truck for the delivery.

   “We’d love to fill the box truck and I’m really pleased with the community’s response,” he added. “Columbiana County is small in number but the communities understand that East Palestine is hurting and they pull together. I’m sure they will appreciate it and water is a necessity. Other communities are probably helping but this is a start.

“I thought we should do our part. We’re just trying to help out the community. I’m sure they would do the same for us.”

For more information, contact the high school at (330) 679-2305.