Shaler Area, Blessed Trinity Academy students display holiday generosity
As the holidays near, some Shaler Area and Blessed Trinity Academy students are working to brighten the season for others.
Shaler Area Girl Scout Troop 54593 raised more than $1,230 from Nov. 13 through 17 for Project Bundle Up.
The troop consists of the following Shaler Area Elementary students: fifth-graders Caroline Scherm, Emma Perman and JoJo Tuccillo and sixth-graders Alexis Dimbokowitz, Ellie and Miko Moore-Swogger and Brianna Simard.
“I realized if we didn't raise the money, then people wouldn't really be warm for winter and I really wanted to help them,” said Emma Perman, 10.
The Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts facilitated a “coin wars” competition among Burchfield Primary classrooms, with the class fundraising the most earning a pizza party. The girls devoted seven hours over a weekend to counting, recounting and rolling the change to determine the winner.
“We ordered pizza, they had drinks, and they just worked solid. It was a really impressive effort by them all,” said Pamela Ebner Simard, troop leader.
“It was just amazing seeing all of that just come together — it being from loose change to you being able to have warm coats for the winter,” said Caroline Scherm, 10.
Another fundraising effort consisted of the Scouts distributing the Shaler Area Elementary families paper coats to decorate in return for donating to Project Bundle Up. The girls took turns hanging the coats in their school cafeteria.
Ebner Simard said her goal was to raise $500 between the two schools.
“To get over $1,000 was just, you know, we're very excited for that.”
“I feel like doing this kind of pulled us together more because we were together so much,” said Brianna Simard, 12. “I feel like we all kind of enjoyed knowing that we're helping someone this winter.”
Meanwhile, Blessed Trinity Academy's student council and service club members asked school families to donate shoeboxes filled with toiletries, gloves, hats, school supplies, puzzles or candy for a St. Vincent de Paul Society drive. The middle schoolers placed notes to the recipients, letting them know that they were praying for them inside the boxes prior to gift-wrapping them.
“They were all stuffed to the brim. Every box was so full, sometimes we had to get empty boxes and put some extra in because we just couldn't keep it closed,” said Sandra Ondriezek, seventh-grade teacher and service club adviser.
The 33 students stacked 146 boxes in the hallway for a St. Vincent de Paul representative to pick up after hours at the Glenshaw school.
Sister Lois Spinnenweber, apostolate minister at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hampton, requested that the students assist with the project, which will bring the supplies to a Moundsville, W.Va., church and nursing homes.
“We have such an overflow here of overabundance of support and help, that now we want to reach out to other people that need help in West Virginia,” said Ondriezek.
“A lot of those gifts will be some of the only gifts that those people will have,” said Spinnenweber.
“It is very important to put a smile on their faces, too. If we are able, we try to help everybody. They have to know that God's love is for them, as well.”
Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.