(CBS DETROIT) – On Monday’s schedule for Mrs. Rocho’s 4th grade class at Bailey Lake Elementary in Clarkston, there’s science, Spanish, and a special zoom with LJ.
“Hi, LJ.,” the class yells out as they see their former classmate on a zoom call.READ MORE: Ferndale Schools District Reinstating Face Masks Starting This Week
LJ is a former classmate who moved to Poland this past February after her dad received a job there. Her fellow classmates were beyond excited to see her.
“Pretty exciting because a lot of us haven’t seen her since she moved,” said 4th grader Mya Graw.
This was not just a reunion to catch up, the kids had some exciting news to share with LJ.
“I donated $20 in cash,” 4th grader Stella Gilbert said during an interview.
When the school learned of LJ’s family taking Ukrainian refugees into their home, and supplying whatever they needed with their own money, they knew they had to help out.
“The coin drive just came up between me and some of the PTA members and it happened, quick,” said the students teacher Bethany Rocho.
Starting Monday students school-wide brought in bags, even buckets of coins, filling the containers not only with coins, but love for complete strangers.
Something the Benson family knows all about.READ MORE: Ford, GM, Stellantis Reinstate Masks At Facilities In Areas With 'High' COVID Risk
“I don’t want to just take one or two, you feel like a need to, I’ve got this ability to help people I have family that want to donate money, how can I help,” said OT Benson whose family is taking in Ukraine Refugees.
OT says it started with just two families, but since they moved to Poland in late February, he’s welcomed over 30 Ukrainian refugees into his home. A home that’s already occupied by 7 of his own family members. They say it’s rewarding, but taking some getting used to.
“Now you’re trying to grasp the understanding of two different cultures at once, and it’s mind-boggling at the same time, but it’s so much fun and a whole new experience that you didn’t know you were going to get,” said Kaleolani Benson, OT’s 18-year-old daughter.
The family also didn’t expect to get so much support from back here in Michigan. They were in shock when I told them one student donated over $100.
The coin drive goes through Friday, with funds going directly to the refugees to help out with airline, food, clothing and other costs.
The Benson family says refugee families stay with them on average 2-3 days, but as long as a month.
Some think they may be able to return to Ukraine soon, but sadly that may not be possible. This is what OT says is heartbreaking.
He admits the language barrier can be challenging but says they make it work with Google translate.
The Benson’s plan to host as many families as possible.MORE NEWS: Bank Of America Report Shows A Competitive Homebuying Season
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