North High junior has Key to make Christmas brighter

December 23, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Editor's note: This is the ninth story in a 10-part series about people who make the holiday season brighter for others. The series concludes Christmas Eve.

Early this month, Beth Plume and a few others spent two weekends buying clothes, shoes, toys and other items for three needy families.

The price tag for their good deed was $3,000.

Each of the families adopted by North Hagerstown High School's Key Club will receive about $1,000 in gifts for Christmas, said Plume, the club's president.

"When I first heard about how much we gave, I said, 'Wow,'" Plume said.

Key Club, a service organization, typically adopts two Washington County families over the holidays, but this year, Plume said, the members decided to help three. The families, selected by The Salvation Army, write their own "wish lists," which are given to the club.


Plume said teachers and some of the club's 90 members donate items from the wish lists. The rest of the items, and other gifts, are purchased using money the club made through fundraising efforts.

"The shopping is the most fun," Plume said.

Plume said the club typically has between $3,000 and $4,000 to spend. In past years, some big-ticket items, such as a PlayStation, were requested, she said.

This year, most of the gifts were smaller, Plume said. The families wanted clothing and toys for the children.

A young girl wanted Dora the Explorer toys and a boy asked for baseballs.

"Then, another girl just really wanted some doll babies," Plume said.

Two highchairs were bought for young twins.

Although parents typically don't ask for gifts for themselves, Plume said, the club members purchase grocery store gift cards for them and try to find other small items they can use around the house.

This year, some of the parents were given photo albums in which to place pictures of their children, Plume said.

"We're getting them things that they really want," Plume said.

The club's main fundraiser and source for the Christmas donation is the sale of peanut butter candy covered with chocolate. The candy is sold at school and at Sam's Club. There also are other small fundraisers throughout the year, Plume said.

"All the money from these projects goes to other projects," Plume said.

Giving to the families, though, is the club's largest service project.

"It's just amazing that we are able to do so much for the families," Plume said.

Saturday: Beverly Coyle of Waynesboro, Pa.

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