Sunday, March 04, 2001

Scavenger hunt yields donations for Lakota

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP — Every winter students at Adena Elementary School go on a scavenger hunt.

        But they're not looking for trinkets, old teeth or a 1960s Beatles ticket stub.

        They scour their pantries and discount stores looking for sheets, shampoo and peanut butter for the Reach Out Lakota pantry, which provides food, clothing, toiletries, school supplies and other items to families in West Chester and Liberty townships.


        “They are wonderfully generous to us,” said Lourdes Ward, executive director of Reach Out Lakota. “Every year I think they can't possibly get one more box of items, but they do.”

        Volunteer mom Kelly St. Clair said there were at least a few donations of every item on the list by the time everything was sorted, packed and labeled Friday.

        The idea for the hunt was hatched six years ago by Beth Keene, now a senior at Lakota West High School. This year five trucks and four vans hauled away boxes and bags of donated goods.

        The hunt is particularly helpful now, because supplies are low after the Christmas rush of donations, Mrs. Ward said. The organization needs to replenish for summer, when more help is needed but fewer donations are received.

        Adena student council helped out by stacking boxes full of donations on the school's stage and outside its cafeteria, where students dropped off items each morning.

        The hardest part, said fifth graders Brett Stoltz and Jesse Wright, was carrying the boxes.

        “Some of the cans were heavy,” Brett said.

        “Yeah, the baked beans,” added classmate Sarah Dougan, 11.

        “And the applesauce!” Jesse added.

        Reach Out Lakota also received help each day last week from a dozen volunteer moms like Ellen Mueller, who heads this year's efforts with student council. The parents spent two to three hours at the school sorting through and packing items.

        “It's a great project,” Mrs. Mueller said. “What better way to help somebody in need in your community?”


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