Stateline student leads fundraiser for teacher who lost everything in house fire

Danielle Bond’s Bryon home was destroyed on March 25.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:24 PM CDT
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STILLMAN VALLEY, Ill. (WIFR) - Gracie Snyder has never had Danielle Bond as a teacher.

But she knew of Bond, who teaches fifth grade in the Meridian School District. But when Bond’s house burned down last week, Snyder, a sixth-grader at Meridian Junior High School, knew she wanted to help.

A day after learning that Bond lost everything in the March 25 fire, Snyder contacted her peers on student council to come up with a plan.

“I said I can text student council and say, ‘Can we help her,’ because she didn’t have anything,” Gracie said. “They walked out of the house with just the clothes on their back, and she’s six months pregnant.”

The 11-year-old then turned to Facebook, making a plea to the community for donations: clothes, furniture, food, and cash to help Bond and her growing family pick up the pieces.

Micki Hoefle, Meridian Junior High’s student council advisor, said donations started flooding immediately, many coming from people all over the region who’ve never met Danielle Bond.

“Checks for $100 for somebody they don’t even know but they heard of the tragedy,” Hoefle said. “It really amazes us.”

Hoefle said she’s also amazed at how the actions of one student brought a community together but not at all surprised that it was Gracie Snyder who led the charge.

“Gracie is so caring and compassionate--such a sweet girl,” Hoefle said.

The Bonds now have more clothing, furniture and kid’s items that they’ll be able to use once they get settled in a new home. Organizers are now requesting that future donations be in the form of cash or gift cards.

“It made me feel good to help her and inspire people,” Gracie said.

The students hope to raise $5,000. Anyone interested in donating can call Hoefle at 815-988-7361.

A 32-year-woman who lived near the Bonds died during the fire. Authorities say she was electrocuted when she came in contact with a downed power line as she tried to help the family out of the house. No one else was injured.