GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (CBS) — At St. Petronille School in Glen Ellyn, the East Coast devastation is being felt.

That’s because the school’s more than 500 students have joined in a massive relief effort by collecting thousands of pounds of supplies.

“I thought they needed help, and I thought it would be nice,” one student tells CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli, who told pupils about his experiences covering Sandy’s aftermath.

Students say they can relate because they realize that one day it could be their town that needs help.

“It’s just weird to think that that could happen to us, and we get to feel like what it would be like if it were us instead of them,” sixth-grader Katie Cavanagh said.

Principal Mary Kelly says that’s why she let the kids out of class for a while Friday so they could personally deliver their packages to the donation site.

“We talk about making a difference in the world, and you can’t do that in a classroom,” she said.

Teacher Colleen Helenhouse says the students’ eagerness to help has been inspiring.

This all started just days ago, when a Glen Ellyn mom sent an email that she was going to send a truck to New York. Now her house is so full of stuff, they had to store some of the goods in the front yard.

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