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Community helps Grassroots Free School tackle tornado repairs through Benefit Concert fundraiser

Posted at 8:30 AM, Jul 08, 2024
  • A Benefit Concert raised money to help Grassroots Free School with tornado recovery costs.
  • More than 100 neighbors attended, helping organizers surpass the event's goal of $2,000.
  • Watch the video to hear how the money will help the school move forward.


Grassroots Free School is still working to rebuild both of its campus buildings that were nearly destroyed by the May 10th tornadoes.

Kerrie Wharton, Former Grassroots Free School Staff Member - “Trees were through the roofs of the buildings and I was wondering if it was repairable or not.”

I’m Kenya Cardonne in Northwest Tallahassee, digging into what’s next for the school and how the community is stepping up to help through a concert fundraiser.

Kim Weinrich, Director at Grassroots Free School - “I was first able to pull up at the school Saturday morning to see it and it just brought me to tears.”

It’s been almost two months since the tornadoes caused extreme destruction at Grassroots Free School, something school Director Kim Weinrich tells me she’s still processing.

Weinrich - “Several dozens of trees that were down on our property, playground, schools and damaged throughout the school.”

All of which forced the school to close for summer break earlier and cancel summer camp.

Wharton - "It was like seeing your own home devastated, I couldn’t stop crying.”

As a third-generation alum and former staff member at Grassroots, Kerrie Wharton says the damage affected her personally.

Wharton - “Trees were through the roofs of the buildings and I was wondering if it was repairable or not.”

She says it’s what motivated her to organize a Benefit Concert, with the support of others in the community.

More than 100 neighbors gathered at American Legion Hall Sunday to enjoy live musical entertainment, food, gift basket raffles and silent auctions — all in support of Grassroots.

As the school works on heavy debris cleanup and securing a portable building for the next school year, they say all of the donations and community support goes a long way.

Wharton - “Grassroots school wouldn’t have made it this long if it weren’t for community.”

It also served as a much-needed distraction.

Wharton - “Kind of relaxing for a little bit and putting the stress of the rebuild of the school to the side for a moment and having a good time and celebrating.”

Weinrich - “I’ve been in tears many times throughout the last two months and the overwhelming feeling I have now brings me tears, but in a good way because I’m seeing how much support we have.”

The school’s director says they are going to do everything they can to try to welcome students back to school in August.

In Northwest Tallahassee, Kenya Cardonne, ABC 27