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LEAWOOD, Kan. — A couple in Leawood is working to make sure students in rural areas have reusable water bottles when they head back to school.
Kody Cook and Cortney Eidson grew up in a small community south of Kansas City and always wanted to do something to help rural parts of the region. When the pandemic hit, they saw an opportunity to make a difference heading into the new school year.
“We have friends that are all teachers and [Cortney’s] aunt runs a daycare, and it was her aunt’s idea that water bottles would be a good idea,” Cook said.
One unique challenge students will face this year is how to stay hydrated during the day. Some districts are replacing traditional water fountains with filling stations to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus.
“Little kids won’t be able to go up and put their face close to the water fountain like you would normally use,” Eidson explained. “You have to do a water bottle.”
Wanting to fill a need, Cook and Eidson started fundraising, holding a flag football tournament this summer which they called Huddle for H2O.
Their initial goal was to supply six rural school districts with water bottles. They ended up helping 14 districts, donating a total of 7,400 bottles.
“I know we don’t think of this, but a $10 water bottle may mean a lot more to kids in those areas,” Cook said. “A lot of those kids are rural and might need a little help here or there and growing up there we saw that.”
“It’s amazing what they’ve done for all the schools in the area,” said Heather Bristow, a teacher at Harrisonville High School.
Bristow said all 800 students at her school will have water bottles thanks to Cook and Eidson’s efforts. They’re fundraising campaign also got the attention of Patrick Mahomes’ fiancée, Brittany Matthews, who posted about it on her Instagram story.
“Right now, everyone has a lot on their plate,” Bristow said. “So it makes it one less thing for them to worry about and that’s just great,” she added.
Cook and Eidson said the most rewarding part of it all was hearing from teachers, parents, and complete strangers – their gratitude that the couple’s small idea will have a lasting impact this school year.
“To see them so excited, I think that was the pay off,” Cook said.
“I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Eidson added.
The pair will deliver their final shipment of bottles to one more school sometime this week. They hope to make Huddle for H2O an annual back to school fundraiser.
A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.