Homecoming Group Donates Money to Hurricane Relief in Lieu of Purchasing Boutonnieres, Corsages


courtesy of Sophia Sexton

Homecoming group poses with check of the money they saved to donate to the Red Cross

Maren Naegele, manager

In response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which devastated Texas and Florida this fall, one homecoming group of 42 Edina High School seniors felt compelled to contribute to rebuilding efforts.

At the end of August, Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane, hit Texas with torrential rains and roughly 130 mph winds. Before reaching peak intensity near Rockport, Texas, Harvey tore through several areas in the Atlantic, including Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, and the Windward Islands. Harvey created catastrophic flooding throughout eastern Texas, inundating thousands of homes, displacing thousands of Texans, and killing roughly 84 people. Soon after Harvey left its mark, Irma stormed through the northeastern Caribbean, the Florida Keys, and into Florida. Irma’s winds reached 185 mph, resulted in 124 casualties total, and left severe water damage in homes, local businesses, and government buildings. Combined, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will cost the United States between $150 and $200 billion, according to ABC, CNN, and CNBC News.

After becoming aware of the considerable damage in Texas and Florida, senior Greta Hanten proposed an idea to her Homecoming Dance group. “Instead of buying corsages and boutonnieres for each other, would everyone be cool with just pitching in $20 each and donating it to Red Cross?” Hanten asked. Hanten’s group was more than ready to pitch in, responding, “Brilliant Idea! This is amazing! We are helping out the world!”

Boutonnieres and corsages can range from $10 to $30, and although they are aesthetically

pleasing, most people only wear them for group pictures before they fall off at the dance. “I was mentioning how it seemed like a waste to buy super pretty flowers that just get wrecked and taken off after pictures and my mom suggested we should put that money to something that could actually make a difference,” Hanten said. With all the natural disasters happening, Hanten and her mom thought it would be beneficial to donate the money to victims of both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

When Hanten proposed this idea to her homecoming group, everyone agreed it was a good idea. Senior Sophia Sexton even stepped forward and offered to organize the entire exchange. Sexton’s mom is on the board of the Red Cross and reached out to the regional CEO about the idea. They loved it. The Red Cross sent Sexton’s group a copy of a check for $820 (the they amount raised), so they could take a group picture with it and be an example for both EHS and the country. Sexton is hopeful that if other groups EHS follow their lead, tens of millions of dollars that would’ve been spent on boutineers and corsages can go straight to aid organizations.

There are many organizations helping with relief, but the Red Cross stands above the rest. The Red Cross is incredibly important during times of crisis, as they not only provide food, shelter, support, and survival skills, but also financial assistance. Financial assistance allows families and individuals to make their own decisions in terms of what they want to do with money. This is important because it grants people more freedom and independence during times of great instability and dependence.

Whether it’s a hurricane or another catastrophe, anyone, even teenagers hundreds of miles away, can make a difference. For more information on how to donate to the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org.