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Lee Students Embody Character Trait of Compassion

 

"Everyone got really excited about it," she said.

It didn't take long and students filled the cupboards with soaps, shampoos, laundry detergents and other cleaning supplies to donate to Barry County Cares, an organization providing assistance for the homeless and those in need in Barry County.

 But the lesson went a step further.

 Tina Horrigan, executive director of Barry County Cares came to talk with the third graders. She showed them how hard it is at times to pay for all the necessities.

 Students each started out with 10 pennies to pay for their weekly expenses.

 "There are a lot of bills to pay," said Horrigan. "Let's see who has enough money for the week."

 Students pushed pennies from their bank account into their spent column as Horrigan rattled of expense after expense - like needing to go to the doctor and getting medicine, needing a new pair of glasses, spending money on a birthday present, buying groceries, paying rent, and filling a vehicle with gas.

 Most of the students spent all of their pennies long before the weekly expenses were done.

 "It could happen to anyone," said Horrigan. "At Barry County Cares we know that everyone is special, valuable and important. Sometimes, they just need a little extra help."

 She told students about a man who would ride his bicycle nine miles to work and back every day until one day the man had to send his bicycle in to get fixed. He never got it back. He continued working but had to walk the nine miles every day to and from work in the winter.

 "We were able to help him get a new bike," she said. "That's what we do. We help people when they need it most."

 Horrigan said Barry County Cares helped more than 9,200 people last year.

 "Some people come back often - and others only need help for a little bit," she said.

 Pranger said she was very happy to be able to help and was glad her classmates were willing to help as well.

 "It just makes me feel good to be able to do something. And especially since there are a lot of kids who need help," said Pranger.

 Of the homeless population in Barry County, Horrigan said about half of them are children in need of help.

 Hannapel said Pranger displayed the month's character traits of true success, gratitude and compassion.

 "It shows one person can make a difference," said Hannapel.

 For more information about Barry County Cares, visit their website at www.barrycountycares.org.