Lincolnwood kids cozy up to charity
Preschooler Luke Kane picks out a blanket at Todd Hall Elementary School during "Project Night Night" on Feb. 5. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 14, 2013 8:46AM
A cold and snowy winter night didn’t stop more than 100 Todd Hall students and parents from gathering Tuesday evening to assemble comfort packages for homeless children served by Maryville Academy Crisis Nursery in Chicago.
“Project Night Night” was Todd Hall’s third annual service learning project, a yearly event taking place each February that brings the school together to help support a chosen charity.
A national initiative that donates more than 25,000 care packages to shelters like Maryville each year, Todd Hall did its part to help Project Night Night by packing canvas tote bags with a book, a blanket and a stuffed animal to help comfort children being served by the shelter.
With the help of a parents and a group of teachers, the children moved through four stations set up at the front of the school and “shopped” for a child by choosing an item from each table for their care package.
Todd Hall mom Marney Orchard bundled up her four- and six-year-old daughters and headed to the school to help out. Orchard said this was the second year in a row her family participated in the service learning project.
“It’s important for them to learn at a young age that not all kids are as fortunate as they are,” Orchard said. “It’s about teaching them the value of giving back.”
By the end of the night 100 neatly packed bags, complete with a hand-written note or drawing created by each student, were wrapped up and ready to be delivered to Maryville Academy.
Students and parents will help teachers hand-deliver the packages to the shelter after school on Valentine’s Day. They’ll then take a tour of the shelter.
It was a school-wide effort to make the project a success, with students in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes bringing in a new stuffed animal, and the first and second grade classes donating a new blanket or book.
“The whole idea is for the book to provide an educational opportunity and for the blanket and stuffed animal to provide comfort,” said Nancy Nasby, a social worker at Todd Hall. “It’s a great experience for the kids where they can bring something to school to help someone in need.”
Last year’s service learning project raised $3,000 for Pennies for Patients, a charity that supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In 2011, the school assembled care packages for victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Maryville Academy provides residential care, health and family support services and youth development programs to more than 2,500 children ages newborn through six years old who are experiencing a severe disruptive crisis or are challenged with an urgent family situation.
The Maryville Crisis Nursery is one of six crisis nurseries located in Illinois, and is the only crisis nursery located in the Chicago area.
“We hope to connect the project to Valentine’s Day by providing a little extra comfort this time of year to the kids who need it most,” said Laura Barringer, gifted specialist for Todd Hall.
For more information on Project Night Night, go to http://projectnightnight.org/.