A Gahanna Hurricane Force is gaining momentum to help children affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, dumping more than 40 inches of rain during four days in eastern Texas.

The resulting floods displaced more than 30,000 people.

That was closely followed by Irma, which hit Florida on Sept. 9 and left storm damage and widespread power outages behind.

As of Sept. 15, Irma had caused at least 82 deaths, including 43 in the Caribbean and 39 in the United States.

Gahanna Lincoln High School Principal Bobby Dodd said the school would raise funds during the week of Sept. 25 for youth affected by the storms.

"We're calling this Gahanna Hurricane Force and all proceeds will go to UNICEF, which addresses the immediate and long-term needs of children affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma," said Marcia Sweet, Key Club adviser.

She said the Key Club initiated the effort, partnering with other clubs and organizations including Students Against Destructive Decisions, the S Club, the Star Club (formerly Renaissance), DECA, Student Council, the Bio-Science Club, the Mane Cup (special education classes that sell coffee in the mornings) and the Fabrication Lab.

Junior Jocelyn Schirtzinger, a member of the S Club, said she's honored the school can help.

"It's a moral thing," she said. "Just because we're not there doesn't mean it's not happening. To think that one of our families might be in that situation makes me want to help theirs, as well."

Sweet said UNICEF is an A-rated charity that meets the immediate and long-term needs of youngsters in particular.

She said Gahanna Middle School East is partnering with the high school in the effort.

"The other schools who have replied to me so far all have projects of their own going on for the hurricane relief," she said.

At press time, Sweet was waiting for a response from four other schools within the district.

The Gahanna Hurricane Force will collect donations at the home soccer game on Sept. 30.

DECA will donate proceeds from T-shirt sales from the Pickerington High School Central football game on Sept. 29.

Sweet said students also are visiting area businesses, government offices, and police and fire stations to collect.

"We will leave our canisters anywhere we are able," Sweet said.

"Canisters will be labeled 'Gahanna Hurricane Force' and will have the school colors of blue and gold," she said.

Anyone can donate by making out a check to Gahanna Lincoln High School with Gahanna Hurricane Force clearly marked in the subject line.

Sweet said canisters also would be in the high school main office, 140 S. Hamilton Road, for anyone who wants to drop in during school hours from 7:35 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. weekdays.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla