They're rivals in sports already. But two neighboring school districts are harnessing that competitive spirit to benefit the victims of superstorm Sandy.
Purchase Line and Northern Cambria are running a "Stuff the Bus" contest through Dec. 17 to collect supplies such as winter weather gear, water and food and clean-up materials for residents of Far Rockaway, N.Y.
"We've had a huge response from the community," said Marsha Gardner, a secretary at Purchase Line High School. "We're so excited."
The idea originated at Purchase Line, where staff members were looking for ideas for their holiday fundraiser. Belinda Lambie, a guidance counselor, had taken her church youth group to New York City for a homeless outreach, and called the organization she had worked with before.
They suggested donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Far Rockaway, which runs a food pantry.
Tri-County Transportation Inc. agreed to take a bus filled with donations to New York City. And they decided to ask Northern Cambria to join the effort.
"A better way to kind of boost school pride and have fun would be to maybe compete with a neighboring school district. And Northern Cambria was generous enough to join in with us in this little friendly competition," Lambie said.
At Northern Cambria High School, Principal Joy Tibbott said she supports the idea because "kindness is contagious."
"We wanted to get involved because we want to set a good example," she said. "We do want to convey that message of giving at Christmastime -- or anytime, really."
The collection only began last Monday, but already things were going well at Purchase Line. Gardner said a local church was adding its collection efforts to the school's. Lambie said she noticed teachers carrying in cases of water.
At Northern Cambria, Tibbott said they were "probably off to a slower start" but motivated all the same.
"We are definitely pumped up," she said. "We want the whole community to get involved. But it's going well."
The following items are needed: blankets, winter hats, mittens or gloves, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic cups, bottled water by the case or gallon jugs, canned or boxed nonperishable foot items, cleaning supplies, dust masks, clothespins, latex gloves, work gloves and trash bags. Everything should be new; no glass or breakable containers will be accepted.
Donations should be brought to Purchase Line High School, 16559 Route 286 East, Commodore; or Northern Cambria High School, 813 35th Street, Barnesboro. Call Northern Cambria at (814) 948-6800 or Purchase Line at (724) 254-4312 for more information.