A Flood of Toys
After Hurricane Floyd caused the largest evacuation in U.S. history,
Drew Humphrey, 7, saw hundreds of homeless kids on TV. "What will those
kids play with now?" he worriedly asked his mom. Nothing, she replied
-- the North Carolina children lost everything in floodwaters. That's
when the West Virginia boy said he'd give them his toys, including his
favorite "big Batmobile planes" and whatever he got for his upcoming
eighth birthday. Enter the media: The Thomson newspaper group -- which
owns two West Virginia papers, The (Beckley) Register-Herald and the
Bluefield Daily Telegraph -- began writing about Drew. A $3,200 deluge
of toys and money came from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina
and Kentucky. Four Wal-Marts set up collection sites. On the day of
Drew's birthday, a
police escort led two UPS trucks and a 12-vehicle convoy to where 300
kids waited for a share of 1,000 new toys. "It was like Christmas for
those kids," says newspaper editor Frank Sayles, who helped hand out
the toys. "And so many people greased the wheels, including the state
police, who helped us breeze through the tollbooths."
That day, Drew's family also toured flood-ravaged
areas. "Some people were crying," Drew says. "I prayed a little bit."
His family adopted nine flood families and still continue delivering
beds, socks, underwear and, yes, more toys. "We're just following up
on Drew's idea," says dad Ken. "It's made us think a lot. My wife and
myself, we're both teachers, but sometimes the kids, they teach us."