Help for the Homeless: Students Take Action
Help for the Homeless: Students Take Action
Posted on 01/11/2019
Koontz Intermediate students are making a difference for those in need.By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Dept.

As the cold weather sets in, being homeless in Western North Carolina gets even harder. After seeing the struggles firsthand on city streets, students at Koontz Intermediate wanted to make a difference. The fifth- and sixth-grade members of their school’s National Junior Honors Society (NJHS) set out to collect helpful items from their neighbors, teachers, and families. The donations were then brought together after school on a Friday and sorted into care packages. The idea was to distribute them to those in need during the winter months.

Ms. Parker's class poses with their completed care packages.“Everyone wants to help around the holidays, but this isn’t just a holiday thing,” said teacher and NJHS sponsor Ms. DeLana Parker.

Parker noted that her students have a history of getting involved and organizing volunteer opportunities throughout the year. For example, the group plans to host Eblen Charities at their school next month to learn more about other ways to meet needs in the community. These efforts also support the NJHS student pledge to "encourage high standards of scholarship, leadership, service, character and citizenship."

As sixth grade NJHS president Caden Thomas put toothpaste and a tooth brush into a ziploc bag, he talked about his own motivation.

“Some people don’t get what we get,” he said. “We’re just being kind.”

Each care package included a combination of toiletries and personal items, winter clothing, and snacks. The bags even came complete with an artful hand-written note! Students put their creativity to work in creating the colorful greeting cards, each designed to encourage the reader and share the message that people matter.

Elsie creates hand-written notes to include in each care package.“You are amazing,” read one note.

“Friends are the best, so you are the best to someone else,” read another.

Elsie Nast was one student hard at work writing notes and placing them in bags. She held one up for Ms. Parker to read and the two smiled together. Elsie planned to be part of delivering the completed bags, and was looking forward to that moment.

“I know I’m going to remember seeing the expression on people’s faces when they receive these bags,” she said.
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