Sawnee Elementary School students made sure the holidays came early for the Bald Ridge Lodge.
The entire school, led by 155 students in the Horizons program, worked to collect board games, snack and other items to donate to the Lodge. A group of fifth-graders gathered Dec. 18 to load up all the toys for their trip to the Lodge.
Gabe Shook,a fifth-grader in Marsha Gravitt’s class, said he and his peers wanted to help.
“Mrs. Graffit told us about the Lodge and that some of the boys might not have what we have,” he said. “I was really excited to help give all this”.
His classmate, Sarah Spiller, agreed. “We gave games, chips, movies and board games,” she said with a smile.
Gravitt and fellow teacher John Chamberlain said all of the grades brought something and the fifth grade helped coordinate it. “They wanted to do this,” Gravitt said, “and none of this was prompted. This is just an extraordinary group of kids.”
Several officials from the Bald Ridge Lodge attended. Director of Operations Amanda Prior said she was moved by the generosity of the students. “Some of them have no money for presents,” she said. “These kids will be so excited. It’ll be a treat for them to have a soda. You guys are awesome.”
Bald Ridge Lodge House manager Patty McCanna said the “goodies” would be a rare treat for some at the Lodge. “There was a boy who didn’t even know what a pie was,” she said. “some of them have never had any of this.”
Dennis Gravitt who helped coordinate the event, said he hopes the students at Sawnee Elementary have a fantastic holiday season. “I hope you have as good a Christmas as you have done for these kids,” he said.
Bald Ridge Lodge opened this year and is a “safe haven” for boys 12 to 17 who cannot stay at their home for reasons beyond their control. At Bald Ridge, the boys get counseling, guidance and above all stay in the community among family and friends.
Bald Ridge can house up to 12 boys at a time.