Key class project aims to help W.Va. residents

NEIGHBORS

May 09, 2002|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHAT STARTED AS two Francis Scott Key High School students' class project has developed into a major undertaking involving their church.

Jason Palmer and Mandy Strine, both seniors, were assigned a project as part of their literature and composition class.

"Our teacher [Kathy Frederick] told us we had to think of what we could do to better someone else's life," Mandy said.

The students had to use eight hours of community service toward the project and develop a visual presentation that they would give to their class.

Mandy said she and Jason sought each other out because both are active in Uniontown Bible Church.

They asked their youth pastor, Pete Green, to help with the project.

After much thought, Green asked them if they could do anything at all, and time and money were not a problem, what would they do?

"We both said we wanted to go overseas on a mission," Mandy said.

They made a list that included Africa, Brazil, Mexico and also a U.S. Indian reservation and Appalachia.

Getting visas with so short a time eliminated the overseas options.

"We had put Appalachia on our list because our church had made trips there before," Mandy said.

Jay Bubel, the church's outreach director, said that on occasion the church has helped residents of the communities of Jolo and War Eagle in West Virginia.

He said that the residents live below the poverty level. Many had worked in coal mines and in lumber operations, most of which have closed.

"Some people receive only $300 a month from disability insurance," he said.

Bubel said Ravens Ministry in Jolo serves 175 families twice a month, and Tug River Outreach in War Eagle serves 60 families twice a month. Mandy and Jason said they could help.

The students put cardboard boxes at grocery stores in Taneytown and Union Bridge. The boxes are pasted with the slogan, "One Can, One Meal, One Life."

In addition to collecting food, Mandy, Jason and other members of their church plan to spend three days this month in West Virginia doing home improvements for residents.

Mandy and Jason "could have just gone to a nursing home," Green said. "But they've gone above that and really want to serve these people."

"I'm pretty excited about this," Mandy said. "I can't believe how poor these people are. It's hard to fathom that we're the wealthiest nation in the world and that we have such poverty."

Anyone who wants to donate clothes or furniture may drop them at the church, 321 Clear Ridge Road outside Uniontown. Donations will be accepted through today.

Information: 410-857-9644 or 410-751-5567.

Mathathon

Northwest Middle School pupils have employed their math skills and raised $4,303.27 for St. Jude Children's Hospital.

The pupils call it the St. Jude Children's Hospital Math-a-Thon, said Debbie Messinger, who teaches math at the school.

Messinger said they started the mathathon four years ago after the hospital contacted them.

"The hospital sends us Math-a-thon fun books, which contain approximately 200 to 240 math problems," she said.

Pupils collect pledges from sponsors, then do the fun books, which are checked by their parents.

"We had 71 students participate," Messinger said.

Pupils who raised specific amounts received prizes, such as T-shirts, or passes to area amusement parks. Jennifer Barber received a personal compact disc player for raising the most. The hospital gave the school 15 calculators for raising more than $3,000.

Messinger said the money will go to fight childhood diseases such as cancer, AIDS and sickle cell anemia.

White Cane Days

Dick Koontz and other members of Taneytown Lions Club raised nearly $300 for the Maryland Eye Bank during its White Cane Days. "We passed out about 200 canes," Koontz said.

Fishing derby

American Legion Post 120, Taneytown Lions Club and Taneytown will sponsor the annual Fishing Derby from 9 a.m. to noon May 18 at Roberts Mill Park. The derby is open to children ages 4 to 12.

Information: 410-751-1100, Ext. 13.

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

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