West Middle School students make gifts for needy

NEIGHBORS

November 25, 1996|By Lois Szymanski | Lois Szymanski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TWENTY-FIVE eighth-grade students from West Middle School are making a remarkable journey.

It is a journey of understanding, of tolerance, of love and caring. The students in Kathleen Booth's reading class have adopted Shepherd's Staff, a local cooperative ministry of churches that provides assistance to the needy.

On Thursday, the students went to Shepherd's Staff to make favors for the community Thanksgiving dinner the charity will hold at St. John's Roman Catholic Church on Thanksgiving. The annual event provides a free meal for the needy.

"It is remarkable," Kathy Brown, Shepherd's Staff's director, said of the student's involvement. "I have had Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, classes and organizations help with drives, and donations, but never like this never for a year. And no one said they had to do this."

Each of Booth's eighth-grade classes has chosen a community service project, one that relates to the literature they are reading in school. The program has been funded by a grant from Maryland Service Alliance.

The class working with Shepherd's Staff is reading a book called "The Lackawanna," a story that portrays a group of homeless children during the Depression.

"The beautiful part of the story is how they care for each other," Booth said.

Once a month the students walk from the school to Shepherd's Staff bearing gifts. Last month, they had a drive to collect shampoo, soap, detergent, toothpaste and cleanser to add to the Blessings Closet at Shepherd's Staff.

This month, they chose to collect things for the Shepherd's Staff comfort station: hot chocolate mixes, tea, coffee and packets of soup mix.

"Each time they come they stay for an hour and help out," Brown said. "They sweep, rake leaves, stock shelves, clip and file coupons, hang clothing -- just about anything we need they will do."

Two students made a surprise to give to children at the community dinner. Sammy Gilliam and Jessica Gutkoska created a 30-page coloring book.

"They came up with this idea and did it on their own," Booth said proudly. "One of the mothers even had it copied and professionally bound."

In December, the class will provide gifts to one teen-age boy and one teen-age girl for Christmas.

"It makes me so excited," Brown said. "These children really care. They aren't just saying they care. They are doing something about it, and having fun planning it all."

'Christmas is Forever'

Carroll County Choral Society will present its annual Christmas concert, "Christmas is Forever," at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 at Westminster High School.

Herb Sell will direct this year's concert, with Beverly Wells as the accompanist.

An offering will be taken.

Information: 549-6827 or 848-9080.

Pied Piper comes to town

Tom Chapin, a popular children's musician, is coming to Westminster. He will lead a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Sunday in Western Maryland College Alumni Hall.

An award-winning recording artist, Chapin has been called the Pied Piper of children's music. He is brother of the late folk legend Harry Chapin. He started writing music for children when his daughters were 8 and 9 years old, and he realized there wasn't much on the market for them to listen to.

He recently won the Entertainer of the Year award from the American Academy of Children's Entertainment.

Admission to the concert is $12 at the door, $10 in advance, or $5 for children younger than age 12.

Information: 857-2771 or 857-2772.

Pub Date: 11/25/96

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