After Aagam Dalal watched news coverage about Hurricane Michael, which ravaged parts of the southeastern United States in October, he got his entire school involved collecting supplies for a high school in Florida.
Dalal, a 16-year-old sophomore at New Albany High School, led a Key Club project that resulted in more than 200 pounds of personal-hygiene supplies being delivered to Chipley High School in Chipley, which is in Florida's northwestern panhandle.
The Key Club is a student organization that serves the community via a variety of student-led service projects, according to its website. The club works with the Kiwanis Club of New Albany; Kiwanis International is the parent organization of Key Club, Dalal said.
For the hurricane-relief project, Dalal said, he wanted to reach out to those in need beyond the New Albany community.
"Hygiene products can make you feel like you're human again," he said.
Dalal said he contacted many areas across Florida and heard its Washington County was one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. He called many high schools, but the devastation limited the response, he said, until he heard from a contact with the Washington County School District.
"WCHS is a large public school district with many students and families in need, so I thought this would be a way to make the biggest impact," he said.
Dalal serves as historian for the Key Club, and each of the club's board members take a turn leading a project.
To rally his high school community, Dalal said, he placed flyers around the campus advertising the hurricane-relief hygiene drive.
"We got great items that way," he said.
The drive was held for a few weeks in November, Dalal said. During that time, students donated toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, diapers, soap, shampoo and deodorant, he said.
Nearly 300 New Albany students are involved in the Key Club, Dalal said. At one of their meetings, members assembled the supplies in bags and wrote letters of support to the Florida students.
Key Club president Maya Patel, a 17-year-old senior, said sending the letters to students just like them in Florida was a "cool opportunity."
Patel said she also appreciated that a local UPS Store gave the Key Club a discount when mailing the packages, showing that the whole community was willing to help the cause.
The students from Florida also sent pictures taken with the supplies, Dalal said.
"I think it was a really enriching project in a lot of different ways," he said.
Sometimes, getting caught in one's own "bubble" can be easy, Dalal said.
"It was good to reach outside of that," he said.
Chipley High School principal Kyle Newsom said the Key Club donations helped his school restock a closet that is sponsored by the school's student council and contains clothing and other supplies for students in need.
"It's been a really good thing," he said.
Newsom said the high school was fortunate the hurricane turned east after it reached land. Although the storm felled many trees and the high school sustained mild roof damage, the hurricane didn't hit as hard as it did in areas of Florida to the east, he said.
"It's all about perspective," he said.