On Dec. 11 students of Millridge Elementary and Millridge Center for Hearing Impaired (MCHI) decorated 66 lunch bags filled with toiletries to be sent to women in need.
The festive bags were filled with soap, toothbrushes, shampoo and other grooming articles, collected from the students, staff and families for the non-profit Transitional Housing, Inc.
Located at 1545 West 25th Street in Cleveland the organization provides assistance, housing and programs to promote self-sufficiency among homeless women.
"The reception is something to behold, when I dropped them off the other day. The women were so happy to have something to distribute. They quickly put the donations in another room as a surprise,” said Joanee Bonder, who retired from teaching at MCHI two years ago but still participates in the collection.
The bags will be distributed to each resident on Christmas Day, along with gift baskets that contained larger items and clothing.
The program started 15 years ago by retired MCHI audiologist Mary Jo Garrison who enlisted Bodner and other staff. However, the students began their involvement six years ago.
The student participation has changed the program for the better explained Bonder.
“Now it is representative of the school because both schools and student council pitch in and do most of the work. And with MCHI we receive donations from students in different counties too,” she said.
Teacher Kelly Sanelli wrote Patch that when she asked a student what she learned the student replied: “There are people that need help and when we donate the items it makes me feel good to know that I helped someone. These are things that we always have and they don’t. When we donate them they can use them to have a better life,” said Olivia Nicolli.