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Community comes together to support former St. Joseph teachers

Pickett Elementary School hosted a fundraiser Friday night for two former St. Joseph teachers who lost their home in the California wildfires.

Posted: Dec. 1, 2018 11:47 AM
Updated: Dec. 2, 2018 5:05 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Pickett Elementary School hosted a fundraiser Friday night for two former St. Joseph teachers who lost their home in the California wildfires.

Jeff and Jennifer Wright lost their home in the fast-moving wildfire that devastated the northern California town of Paradise.

"The whole town was totally destroyed within six hours that day," said Jeff Wright. "There was no thought of getting some valuable things or sentimental things and stock them up. We just got our dogs and left."

Jeff Wright taught at Lafayette High School and his wife Jennifer Wright was a 3rd grade teacher at Pickett. Their 3 daughters attended Pickett Elementary School as well.

"She was very funny, very sweet," Bobbie Walker, a 3rd grade teacher at Pickett Elementary said. "She's someone who was a friend to everybody and always had a smile on her face." 

After hearing about the wildfires, teachers are Pickett Elementary donated money themselves to help the family. They raised nearly $500. 

"We were just horrified for her," Walker said. "And just really heartbroken because they had just picked up and left here four months ago." 

Staff at the school then decided to do more for the family. They teamed up with Grace Evangelical Church in St. Joseph and came up with the chili dinner fundraiser. 

"We can't rebuild their house or replace their possessions so we said let's set up some sort of fundraiser to help them get themselves back on their feet," John Davison, Principal at Pickett Elementary School said.

They prepared for nearly 400 people to attend the chili dinner and many people did show up, raising $2,000. All food was donated by Grace Evangelical Church.

"We know that good things are going to come from this," Jennifer Wright said. "We are already seeing a lot of community come together and our family members come together, so we are believing for good things and better things to happen through this."

Donations are still being accepted at Pickett Elementary School. All proceeds will be going directly to the Wright family. 

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We will start seeing an increase in cloud cover on Friday ahead of our next storm system. The next chance for precipitation will be Friday night into Saturday. Temperatures will be above freezing in the middle 40s, which will help keep this all rain Saturday. We could even get some thunderstorms Saturday afternoon before we see a switch over to all snow on Saturday night.
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