by Lisa Tome
The Perryville Middle School faculty and parents don't wait for the holidays to do their giving.
Every week, all during the school year, the staff and community supports families. On weekends, food goes home with students who have a need. The program, Helping Hands, is confidential and completely supported by the faculty and parents. Grants have also been awarded from American Legion Post 135, Perryville, VFW Post 8185 Port Deposit, Hollywood Casino, and Walmart to assist with various helping programs at the school.
The year round Helping Hands used to be handled by an outside group. The school faculty decided to take it over and currently sends food home to 17 families each weekend.
Guidance counselor Leon Alexander said that being involved in donating teaches middle schoolers about giving. He also said that students who have a need, know they can get help from the school community.
Lori Speck-Roland, an Options Case Worker at Perryville Middle works to coordinate Helping Hands.
"It's a building-wide effort," said Speck-Roland. "When people see us helping, they jump right in to help. We have a generous staff and community here."
Extra help will also come during the holidays. Adams Jeep, Ikea, and the school will provide 10 needy families from within the school with special holiday food. "Ikea has been a huge help and the staff adopts needy families. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, we never come up short," said Speck-Roland.
Teachers Maria Donnelly and Kristin McMillan are part of that effort.
"They do a great thing here. It's a group effort. There are people who put us (the weekend feeding program) on their grocery list," said Donnelly.