By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — Students at All Saints School are collecting money in a friendly competition to buy books for children in Haiti. The Davenport school’s students are placing change inside either of two jugs: one labeled “Heroes” and one labeled “Villains.”
Teresa Williams, who provides academic support for the school, spoke to the students Sept. 17 about her summer trip to Haiti with Servants Gift, a Christian nonprofit group. She reflected on her experiences in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and in Carrefour and Ganthier. She gave a slide presentation and talked about the lack of supplies at schools, the poverty and hunger. But the people don’t lack faith. Church was the most important thing to the children — to learn about Jesus, God and Mary. “Jesus is a big part of their lives,” Williams said.
When she and other volunteers on the mission trip helped with a Vacation Bible School, they made sun visors with the children and decorated them with religious symbols.
In Haiti, children may go to school if their parents or a sponsor pays tuition. School supplies are limited to paper, pencils and Bibles. No books. Williams saw youths sitting outside, wanting to go to school.
Haitian students receive lunch once a week at school; the fare is typically beans and rice with perhaps another item or two added. The children in Haiti don’t get three meals a day. “They never heard of a snack.” The younger All Saints students gasped.
Fellow All Saints staffer Joan Walton, a media specialist, heard Williams’ presentation to staff in July. As the person in charge of the school’s book fair, Walton thought about all the books the school had access to. “The kids in Haiti don’t have books. So I decided on a fun idea to raise money for books,” she told the students at the assembly.
The first part is a homeroom versus homeroom contest. The class that raises the most money will earn a pizza party, courtesy of Walton. The second part, courtesy of Principal Cheryl Lafferty, is a “no uniform day” if the students work really hard on the fundraising effort. Students may dress up that day according to whichever jug has the most money — heroes or villains. The two jugs are covered so students cannot see how much money is in either container. Money will be collected each school day through Oct. 1. No uniform day is Oct. 8.
“The winners out of this are all the children who we will buy books for,” Walton said. She encouraged students not to ask parents for money, but to ask what chore they can do to earn money.
Seventh-graders shared their thoughts about the project after the assembly. Kate DeVine said raising money for new books is a good cause. Amy Le said she felt sorry for the Haitain children who do not have school materials or shelter, but she was impressed with their strong belief in God. “That was impressive.” Truc Pham said she was happy to know that the Haitian children learned about God and she was going to help them by donating to buy books. “We have a chance to learn and help others,” said Rebecca Clearman.