Drive targets school supplies for needy


August 17, 1998|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE COMMUNITY'S response to Shepherd Staff's Kits for Kids program offers the thrill of Christmas in August.

Children, church groups, communities, businesses and residents have raised money or donated items throughout the summer so people who can't afford the back-to-school basics can get what their children need.

Yes, the county has written its own feel-good story. During a brief moment while you read this column, you'll be reminded that good people and good news are in the community.

Take the Dietz family in Westminster as an example. Ron and Mary Dietz decided it was time to clean up the language in their household. So, with their son Andrew, 8, they agreed to pitch a quarter into a jar every time someone uttered a less-than-desirable word.

Over time, and with the help of their biggest contributor, Andrew's aunt, Diane Cappiello, they collected $4. Mary showed Andrew an article about the Kits for Kids program, and they agreed to donate their collection, as well as some of Andrew's old clothes, last year's backpack and some school supplies.

"When we took in our donation he got to see the children shopping," Mary said. "I don't think children appreciate all they have until they take time to notice other situations."

Under the leadership of Ron and Rachel Fairchild, the high school and middle school youth groups at Westminster Church of Christ held a yard sale and raised $300 for Kits for Kids.

They sold "a little bit of everything" at Lester and Beverly Surber's house in Westminster one Saturday.

"The biggest sale was a weed whacker for $20," Ron Fairchild said.

"Items were donated by members of the congregation. And we plan to take the kids out to shop for school supplies so they can see how their money is used," he said.

That same show-them-how-the-money-helps philosophy was behind Girl Scout Troop 515's trip to Shepherd Staff last week. After canvassing local businesses, neighbors and family members, the Scouts collected, among other things, more than 100 spiral notebooks, 700 pencils, 400 pens, marble notebooks, glue sticks, $100 and five backpacks.

With Scout leaders Jo Ann Casswell and Pam Pizzillo, they took in a van load of items last week.

Joining them were troop members Kelly, Kathy and Stacy Casswell, Amanda and Christina Pizzillo, Katie Bair, Nicole Harris, Jamie Nestor, Kristen Gladfelter, Kelley Spindler, Brittany Traenkner, and Becky Joy.

"All the people who came to our collection sites, or who the girls talked to, were so wonderful," said Jo Ann Casswell. "The businesses, like Wal-Mart and Martin's, went all out."

"It felt good to see other people willing to help others who don't have tons of money," said Kelly Casswell.

Children in the Diamond Hills community will attend a back-to-school party tomorrow at the house of their friends Ian, Kyle and Shannon Smith. In addition to bidding summer vacation farewell with games and good food, each guest will bring school supplies for elementary students.

These contributions and countless others are making the Kits for Kids program a success, said Kathy Brown, Shepherd's Staff director. The Christian outreach center expects to give away about 800 packets filled with supplies before school opens Aug. 24.

"The whole community has been so generous," Brown said. "We've received money from children who had lemonade stands and haunted houses. It's overwhelming and wonderful."

Other businesses have helped, including Little People's Place Child Development Center in Westminster, Kmart, Super Fresh, Co-Op Super Market of Westminster, Long & Foster Realtors, Cranberry Mall and Carroll Town Center.

Shepherd's Staff is offering the school supplies from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, except Wednesday. Backpacks, pocket folders, colored pencils and black-and-white composition books are still needed.

"Everyone is getting so much joy through this program," said Susanna Sabol, a college student who is working at Shepherd's Staff this summer. "The families who receive the donations, the families who give -- it is wonderful."

Information: Ann Gifford, coordinator, at 410-857-5944.

Weekly Bible study

Community Bible Study at Westminster Baptist Church begins Sept. 9. It runs from 9: 15 a.m. to 11: 15 a.m. Wednesdays.

Throughout the school year more than 200 people from 58 local churches take an in-depth look at the Scriptures.

Children's preschool classes, which have a curriculum linked to the adults' weekly lessons, have a waiting list. But all other registration is being accepted.

Part of an international organization, the Wednesday CBS is one of seven similar groups in Maryland. This group grew so fast since it began in Westminster six years ago that a satellite group of men and women meets Thursday nights.

Information, registration: Pam Short, coordinator, 410-795-7399.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 8/17/98

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