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Harrison City church raises supplies for Nicaraguans

| Monday, June 11, 2012, 11:33 p.m.

Children in Nicaragua will have pencils, pen and paper to take to school, thanks to some local residents.

Throughout January, Zion's Lutheran Church in Harrison City encouraged parishioners and people in the community to search their homes for new and used school supplies.

The church still is collecting pens, pencils, paper, crayons, notebooks, folders and other supplies for Nicaraguan children.

The items will be distributed through the Quixote Center for Peace, a faith-based organization that has been working in Nicaragua to address issues of peace and social justice since the 1970s.

Dubbed "Project Clean Your Desk," the project resulted from a peace and justice workshop that coordinator Gwen Steiner attended several years ago.

People don't have to buy anything to help, she said, just focus on their excess materials.

"They can be used items. That's the neat thing," Steiner said. "People in American tend to look at a used box of crayons and say we need a new one, when there's nothing wrong with the used one."

Steiner traveled to Nicaragua in 2005 and got a firsthand look at children in school.

"They (parents and students) have to buy everything because the schools don't supply anything for the children," she said. "A lot of families get their income from picking coffee, so they might not have enough money to buy things.

"Buying even one pencil can be a big expense for a family. In some homes with multiple children, the children will share that one pencil. Anything that we can get for them would be appreciated."

The church will continue to collect items until mid-February, when supplies will be mailed to the Quixote Center for Peace.

Anyone interested in donating school supplies for children in Nicaragua can drop them off at Zion's Lutheran Church, which is on Route 130 in Harrison City.

For more information, call 724-744-3151.

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