St. Pat students lend a hand to HELP House

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Fifth-graders at St. Patrick School in London display the items students and staff collected to donate to the HELP House Little Lambs Easter Basket Outreach: (front row, from left) Cain Grider, Isaac Capell, Annie Rawn, Emma Scott, Cassidy Moore and Josie Cover; (back row) teachers Liz Zamara and Kara Schroyer.

(Posted March 22, 2017)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

In just four days’ time, students and staff at St. Patrick School in London collected a big, colorful pile of goodies for the annual Easter basket outreach at HELP House.

The collection is part of St. Patrick’s annual school-wide service learning project during which grades K-8 support an area charity. This year, they chose HELP House, a London-based non-profit that provides food, clothing, household items, emergency funding, and support to people in need.

The students are focusing their efforts on projects that benefit children. Their Easter basket goodies will be added to donations from other groups and individuals. On April 8, area parents who register to benefit from the outreach will visit HELP House to fill baskets with the donated treats and toys for their children.

HELP House does a similar collection and distribution at Christmas, along with a Christmas party.

“Dee Heilman, our director, believes every child should be able to celebrate the holidays,” said B.J. Bryant, HELP House community outreach coordinator. “Yes, food and hunger and clothing are (top priorities), but it’s also about these kids having a normal kid’s life.”

The first Little Lambs basket outreach, held almost 20 years ago, served 75 children. It now serves over 400 children each year. Bryant said support from groups like St. Patrick School make it possible.

In May, St. Patrick students will hold a baby shower around Mother’s Day, for which they will collect baby items to donate to HELP House.

“The kids love giving and helping other people,” said teacher Liz Zamara, who is coordinating the school’s donation efforts.

HELP House is collecting Easter items through April 5. Needed are unfilled baskets, Easter grass, plastic eggs, wrapped pieces of chocolate, jellybeans, small books and toys, and small stuffed animals. Later in the spring, the organization will distribute new or gently used clothing and shoes, new underwear, and new socks. Items can be dropped off at 122 E. Center St., London: Mondays, 2-7 p.m.; Wednesdays, 8 a.m.-noon; Saturdays, 8-11 a.m.

Additionally, volunteers are needed to help with set-up on April 5, anytime noon-2 p.m. or 6:30-8:30 p.m, and with the actual event on April 8, anytime 8:30-11 a.m. For more information, contact B.J. Bryant at, Chandra Kelly at, or call HELP House at (740) 852-1980.

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