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W.Va. students launch coat drive

November 19, 1996

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Elementary school students at Faith Christian Academy, proving there's more than one way for charity to begin at home, have raided their closets and piggy banks to help less fortunate children stay warm this winter.

They went through their closets and piggy banks at home, picked out their warmest coats and fistfuls of change and brought them to school where the coats will be given to needy children and the money spent on new winter hats and mittens.

The students brought in more than $100 in change.

Nearly 90 winter coats, 93 hats and 77 pairs of mittens were delivered Monday to children in area Head Start programs, said Deborah Helman, director of development at Faith Christian Academy. A few coats large enough to fit older children and some adults also were collected by the students, Helman said.

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Faith Christian Academy on Greensburg Road in Berkeley County has about 300 students enrolled in prekindergarten through high school.

The students performed the charities as part of "Mission Week," at the school, Helman said. They also brought in foodstuffs for the needy. The week included a visit to Independent Bible Church for some fellowship with seniors, Helman said. The students also gave up a day of recess to clean their school, she said.

The idea behind the effort, which will be repeated annually, Helman said, is to have the students give something of themselves to others.

"I brought in my coat so other kids can have the same benefit that I have," said Nicholas Davis, 11, a sixth-grader.

Third-grader Jenna Solenberger brought in 10 coats. She's one of four children in her family. Other students need the coats "so they won't be cold in the winter," she said.

Jacob Cave, 8, a second-grader, said he brought in a coat because he "didn't want somebody else to catch a cold."

Hannah Carter, 7, said she gave up one of her favorite coats, "a white one with pink splotches. It's real warm," she said.

This year, she's wearing a purple coat that is just as warm, she said. "I'll bring it in next year," she said.

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