The smell permeating the entire St. Croix Central Elementary building is a reminder of the smoke damage that has rendered many of the school's classroom items unusable. This, combined with the fact that teachers have not been able to retrieve many items from their classrooms, put the school in need of supplies for its students.
However, thanks to an outpouring of community and area support, SCC Elementary does not need school supplies any longer.
"It's overwhelming, it really is," school district Superintendent David Bradley said. "I'm not surprised by the outpouring of support, but it's still amazing. It's just absolutely amazing."
Several area school districts, including Somerset, New Richmond and River Falls, collected school supplies, books and money to support St. Croix Central.
Somerset Superintendent Randy Rosburg said Somerset Elementary School teachers also gathered instructional materials to donate to St. Croix Central.
"It's nice to know that everybody is here for everybody, and we're not limited by our district boundaries," Rosburg said, "But we are reaching out and just helping."
Somerset second grade students also wrote letters and drew pictures to send to St. Croix Central along with the donations.
New Richmond students held a "Pennies for Panthers" penny drive, as well as a book and school supply collection.
SCC first-grader Miranda Halverson was so upset by the fire that, she told her mother, Amanda Halverson, she wanted to do something to help.
Amanda and Miranda Halverson will be holding a bake sale on Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12, at the Hudson Walmart.
Amanda Halverson said her daughter's goal is to raise $1,000.
"She doesn't understand why somebody so bad would do something like that," Amanda Halverson said.
Amanda and Miranda Halverson are hoping to collect donations of baked goods to supplement the goods she and her daughter will bake on Friday, May 10.
"I know that Sunday is Mother's day, but what better way to say 'I love you Mom' than to help the poor other children?" Amanda Halverson said.
The sale will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 11, and 1 - 5 p.m. on May 12. For more information, call Amanda Halverson at 715-441-5460.
A group of SCC Elementary parents held a school supply drive at Hackman Town & Country in Roberts May 3 through May 5. In addition to collecting regular school supplies, the group also collected recess supplies such as kick balls and jump ropes.
The Friday Memorial Library in New Richmond is holding a book drive through May 15, to help fill the SCC Elementary library at "Panther Camp." The library in the SCC Elementary building suffered smoke and water damage in the fire.
Agave Kitchen in Hudson also held a book drive. Chapter2Books, Hudson, offered a 20 percent discount on all books purchased to be donated to the drive.
Numerous parents and community members also volunteered their time to help set up Rolling Ridges Girl Scout Camp, turning it into "Panther Camp," and preparing it for students.
St. Croix Central is not, and has not been, asking for donations. According to Bradley, the school now has all the school supplies and books it will need for the rest of the year.
"If people want to donate, the best thing for us is a check either to the school district or a donation to WESTconsin Creidt Union," Bradley said.
Monetary donations can still be sent to the SCC district office at P.O. Box 118, Hammond, Wis. 54023. Monetary donations can also be made through the school's account at WESTconsin Credit Union under the name "SCC: Community Strong."