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Kids Care Club at Hampton's Central Elementary helps combat hunger

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Bethany Hofstetter | Pine Creek Journal
Central Elementary students Radhika Schelbert, left, Joanna Knight and Rachel Appleton created picnic baskets with the Kids Care Club to place at local businesses to collect single serving cereal for the Blessings in a Backpack program and to bring awareness to hunger issues.
Bethany Hofstetter | Pine Creek Journal
Central Elementary students Brennan Frank, left, Noah Pilarski, Thomas Bradfield and Linden Gaskill pose next to their picnic basket they made with the Kids Care Club to place at local businesses to collect single serving cereal for the Blessings in a Backpack program and to bring awareness to hunger issues.

Central Elementary's Kids Care Club is continuing its momentum in helping others with a grant it received last month.

The club received $250 through GenerationOn's “What Will You Bring to the Table?” campaign to bring awareness to and combat hunger issues, and the club once again partnered with Blessings in a Backpack.

In October, students in the Kids Care Club collected more than 2,200 juice boxes for the Blessings in a Backpack program, an organization that provides a bag of food every Friday to students who are in the federal free and reduced-price meal program for 38 weekends in a school year.

The Central Elementary students' October donation benefited the 435 prekindergarten to sixth-grade students in Kelly Elementary in Wilkinsburg.

Lori Braun, co-chairchairwoman of the club along with Kelli Di Cesare, said the club decided to work with Blessings in a Backpack again because all of the donations go directly to helping the Wilkinsburg students.

“We like that kids are helping kids,” Braun said. “I think they get the concept more when it's age-related.”

The club used a portion of the grant money to purchase materials to create 20 picnic-basket collection boxes that were placed throughout Hampton Township and the county to collect single-serving cereal boxes to include in the weekly donation to Kelly Elementary School.

When Dale Kwisnek, Midas district supervisor, heard about the project from his nephew, fifth-grader Gregory Scloeria, he pledged to place a collection box in each of the 14 Midas locations in the Pittsburgh area.

“We don't want to just be in the community; we want to be part of the community,” Kwisnek said. “We're always looking to partner with charities to make the community better. If fifth-graders can do it, we can do it to help the community.”

The club used the remaining grant money to purchase cereal and held a food drive that together netted 1,300 cereal boxes.

“I think it's going to help them, it's the nice thing to do and also very fun,” said Erin Cummings, a third-grader in the club.

Linda Lafferty of Plum organizes the Kelly Elementary School donations and finally got to meet the Kids Care Club students last week to talk about how the October donation helped the program and to thank members of the club for their continued support.

“I think the greatest gift is children helping children,” Lafferty said. “Teaching them to give back at a young age, they will keep going. I just think it's so wonderful for them to get so excited about this … that's what it's all about.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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