MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Before firefighters had even put all of the flames out at St. Croix Central Elementary school, Paul Rode, owner of Agave Kitchen, put out the call on Facebook. He asked for books for his alma mater, which had been set on fire yesterday morning.

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“Class of ‘90, we have an obligation, being the best class to ever graduate,” he said with a laugh from his restaurant Friday morning. He hopes others from his class will donate, too.

Through the day Tuesday, people were streaming in with their donations. Fifty books became 100, then 200, then more.

“People move faster than insurance companies and government,” Rode said. “So we try to get them some books, so kids can kind of get back to as normal as possible, you could say.”

Brian Roegge, owner of Chapter2Books across the street, was one of the first to stop in with 60 brand-new books. He’s also offering a 20 percent discount to those who want to donate.

“Downtown Hudson supports the people who support it,” Roegge said.

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At this point, school officials and librarians aren’t sure what can be saved in the school. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the fire caused $1.5 million in damages. Local officials say much of that damage was to the roof, library and office. A reward of $5,000 is being offered to anyone with information.

Students will not be able to finish out the last month of school in Roberts, but will attend classes at Rolling Ridges Girl Scout Camp starting on Monday. Some parents are organizing a school supply drive for their children and teachers.

“I just think it’s what you do when things like this happen,” said parent Stacey Knoebel. “We help each other.”

The school supply drive will start Friday morning at 8 a.m. People can drop off supplies at the Hackman Town & Country on Highway 65 in Roberts. People will be collecting Friday and Saturday and sorting on Sunday.

A student-run bake sale will also be held on Saturday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 12 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It will be held in the Hudson Wal-Mart parking lot. All proceeds will go toward St. Croix Central Elementary.

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For more information from the school librarian on which books to donate, you can visit her blog.

Heather Brown