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Posted: December 15, 2012 4:56 p.m.

Kimble: 4-H’ers wrap up Christmas service projects

"There's nothing to eat. There's nothing to drink," said Darien DeBrule, according to his mother, Kenlyn Patterson.

However, the eighth grade home school student had just finished telling me all about shelves lining the garage where his mom stores items, "just like a store."

Kenlyn and her friend, Jackie Harris, are couponers.

When they find a good deal, they stock up on food, shampoo, or just about anything.

The chances of the shelves truly being bare are pretty small according to these moms.

"They're very fortunate kids; they don't have needs or wants. It's good for them to do something for someone else, so they can see how others live," said Kenlyn.

"You don't know how good you have it," she added.

Darien's and his friend Lavendar Harris, a sixth grade home school student, are heading up a service project to help those less fortunate.

The idea came from Lavendar's younger brother Croswell, a third grader.

"Every week we go on the computer to find news on current events," said Lavendar.

"We look up international, national, state and local news stories," she said.

They often tie the international stories into geography lessons, but the local stories can be on any topic.

Croswell found a story about the Garden of Gethsemane homeless shelter raising funds for power bills.

"They were helping the homeless, that's what they do," Croswell said.

Lavendar said, "We wanted to help the community and the homeless shelter, and we had a lot of stuff so we figured why not?"

Lavendar's mom, Jackie, said "being home schooled, it was really important for them to connect with the community.

"They get a sense of ownership of the community service-it's not just something we do, but something hands on," she said.

"We've been very fortunate, so why not pay it forward?" Jackie said.

"Using 4-H as a vehicle for the project was perfect," she added.

Lavendar joined 4-H this summer and is already an officer in both the County 4-H Council and the home school club.

She sent out the announcement through 4-H and this newspaper column.

Donations have come in from community members and 4-H'ers, but more are still needed by Dec. 19.

"My mom does coupons, so we had stockpiles of some things," Darien said. "We bought some things today like pillows."

The homeless shelter project has collected over 200 personal care items such as shampoo and toothpaste.

The youth have also collected 53 food items, 5 sheet sets, 5 pillows, 9 towels, and a few other items.

Lavendar and Darien said they would most like to collect more sheets, towels, pillows and food items for the shelter.
But their project didn't stop there.

Lavendar said her mom noticed there were a lot of good coupons for diabetic supplies like meters, so they tried to think how they could put them to good use.

That's how they decided to include the fire department.

They're donating medical supplies to the fire department to give out, and at the same time take some treats for our hard working firemen.

Darien and Lavendar are asking the community to donate sweet treats, throw blankets, or full size men's toiletries such as shampoo, shaving cream and razors by Dec. 19.

If you would like to bring fresh, homemade goodies, please deliver them on the morning of Friday, Dec. 21.

Finally, the youth also found they were able to collect a number of new toys, so they are also contributing to Toys for Tots.

If you can't make it by the 4-H office, you can also donate new, unwrapped toys to the Toys for Tots project by finding any local retailer with a box.

Just be sure it is marked with "Newton High JROTC" so that you know your toys will be distributed locally. You can also drop off donations at the front office of Newton High through Thursday.

Donations for all three projects may be made at the Newton County 4-H Office on the second floor of the Newton County Administration Building between 8 a.m. and noon or 1 to 5 p.m.

Darien is already dreaming bigger.

"If 4-H is all over the world, we should end world hunger!" he said.


Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010. or tkimble@uga.edu.

 

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