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Sharing with Grace

February 15, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Grace Powell eats syrup-covered pancakes for breakfast most days, and she often requests them for lunch and supper, too.

Her recent donation to Waynesboro Area Human Services allowed the second-grader to share her favorite food with those who are less fortunate.

"People are losing their jobs and I wanted to help," said Grace, 8.

Debbie Jacobs, Grace's teacher at Hooverville Elementary School in Waynesboro, asked students to develop a project to mark the 100th day of the academic year. Her class partnered with the other second-grade class to share brief presentations about the projects on Friday, which was the 100th day.

Grace aimed to collect 100 containers of nonperishable food. She ended up with 116 containers after making appeals to family, and her parents' friends and co-workers.

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Jane Birt, director of Waynesboro Area Human Services, said the agency often works with schools and groups of young people, but she commended Grace for taking on the initiative herself.

"For a single child to do it ... that's rare. We're very appreciative for her to do this on her own like she did," Birt said.

It also helped that Grace's parents, Mark and Julie Powell, contacted the agency to find out what items are typically needed on the pantry shelves, Birt said. Those include pancake mix, syrup, canned meats and crackers, she said.

"We're always in need of food," Birt said.

Monetary donations also are needed to support financial assistance efforts, she said.

Grace said she wants to adopt a family through the human services program next Christmas. She also wants to ensure the agency's clients have hats, scarves and gloves.

"They said they were short on clothes," Grace said.

Grace, who enjoys cheerleading and gymnastics, carried a trash bag of containers into Waynesboro Area Human Services earlier this month, but she relied on her mother to carry the three boxes filled with cans.

Julie Powell said she's extremely proud of her daughter, who developed the idea with her mother through Internet research.

"They were just shocked someone her age would want to help out with something like that," Julie Powell said.

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