For pupils, charity begins at school


November 22, 2001|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

RUNNYMEDE Elementary School pupils collected 1,025 canned items for Carroll County Food Sunday. The Thanksgiving effort was held in conjunction with the school's emphasis on character traits.

"We try to concentrate on a character trait each month, and November was kindness and cooperation," said Jill Millison, the school's guidance counselor and a food drive coordinator.

Pupils began their drive Nov. 1 and took items to the cafeteria.

By Monday, a day before the end of the drive, the pupils had collected more than 500 items. That day, Linda Baker, a Runnymede staff member and drive coordinator, emphasized to pupils that one day remained to collect items. Pupils surprised school staff by doubling the amount in one day to reach 1,025 items.

"Isn't it wonderful?" Millison asked.

The school's initial goal was for each pupil to bring in two canned items, Baker said. "They're so excited when they bring the food in," she said.

Fifth-graders Maggie Chaney and Lucas Geiman, significant contributors to the drive, said they were proud to be a part of a worthwhile project.

"I was very proud to be able to donate cans and happy that I could help," said Maggie, who added that she would be spending her Thanksgiving with her grandparents and aunts and uncles.

Lucas, who took in nearly a dozen items, also was happy to help. "I want to be able to help needy people. I feel great about the food drive," he said.

Millison said the school separated the items by grade level to add a little competitiveness.

"But I told all of the students they are winners," she added.

The fifth grade, which included teachers Larry Henning, Carolyn Michael, Catherine North and Michele Ziegler, took in the most food.

Carroll County Food Sunday picked up the food Tuesday.

Volunteer manager Fred Robinson said he was pleased with pupils' efforts.

"What they contributed will feed 35 to 45 families for several weeks," he said. "To me, getting children involved in helping others is one of the most important things anyone can do. Every time a child helps someone else, it raises [his or her] self-esteem."

Basket bingo

The Valley Lions will sponsor basket bingo at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Pleasant Valley Fire Company social hall. The cost is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Information: 410-857-5485 or 410-848-3163.

Knights fill baskets

Knights of Columbus, Taneytown Council 11631, have combined a fund-raising breakfast with a Thanksgiving food drive for the needy.

"This is the first year we have done the breakfast with the food drive," said Allen Shater, community activities director for the Knights.

Shater said the response was so good - 180 items were donated - the drive will be repeated next year.

Canned vegetables, boxed stuffing, canned cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and meat were collected.

The items will be put together into baskets for several needy families in Taneytown.

Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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