Mid Columbia Children Welcome Babies Through Service Project

August 01, 2004

Near the close of the 2003–04 school year, the first- through fourth-grade classroom of Mid Columbia Jr. Academy (Hood River, Ore.), with their teacher Gail Hill, brainstormed ideas for local community service projects. The list was long, reflecting a wide range of interests and concerns, but one idea impressed the students most: creating a "welcome basket" for newborns.

Each student helped to prepare a large basket containing gift items donated from local businesses. One toy store went a little further by ordering a case of mind-stimulating baby toys. A specialty clothing store donated several bags of soft fleece scraps that the class turned into baby booties, hats and blankets. One class member's mother added her time and talent to help with this.

Many other donations poured in from parents and church constituents as the word got out. When Hill presented this basket to the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital director of communications, Barbara Young, she was obviously moved and impressed. "This teacher with her little students has done so much to help others," Young stated. "Many of our babies go home wrapped in their daddy's jacket because the family cannot even afford a blanket."

The large basket included individual baskets created so that items could be distributed by the staff to famlies as they saw the need.

How do the students feel about it? "It's so much fun," they chorused, "and it's a good thing to do." The class plans to continue the project next year, and hopefully helping in their community will be a habit these students take into their adult life.