Students at St. Louis Catholic Elementary School have stepped up by the box load to assist the victims of domestic violence.
The lengthy list of charitable causes supported by St. Louis recently added yet another organization, as Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 students chipped in with the combined donation of about 1,400 items for Windsor Hiatus House clients. The idea surfaced when Grade 4-5 French Immersion teacher Andrew DiPietro — a Windsor resident — visited the city’s branch of the shelter and noticed a list of needed items posted inside.
“I just saw a list of the things they needed and thought my class could help out,” he explained. “I’m very proud of them. It was a good leadership opportunity and they really felt like they made a difference — which they did. There was no reward for them. It was just something they really wanted to do.”
DiPietro’s class of 19 led the school-wide initiative, starting with the writing of letters that were sent to the homes of the school’s roughly 400 students. The philanthropic gesture was also promoted with an assembly presentation, P.A. system announcements and classroom-by-classroom visits where a donation box was placed in each room. With a goal of collecting one item per pupil, the May 8 to May 26 campaign surpassed by about 1,000 contributions. Donations from the Hiatus House list included hygiene products, toiletries, make-up, jewelry, women’s and children’s clothing and other day-to-day products.
All items collected had to be new and were mostly purchased from local Dollar Tree and Dollar Store retailers. DiPietro explained that Junior and Senior Kindergarten classes collected the most for the local Hiatus House’s inventory, estimating that their contributions accounted for as much as half of the entire school’s donation total. The sum rested at about 1,300 once the campaign officially ended, but late contributions eventually elevated the total by another 100 items.
“Some kids brought in some high-end stuff too, so it was a good mix,” he noted. “The kids in my class were blown away by the amount of support from the other classrooms. It was a great surprise for them.”
The collection of boxed donations could be dropped off at Hiatus House in Windsor Wednesday, June 14 during a field trip for DiPietro’s class to tour the facilities of St. Clair College. Otherwise, the St. Louis teacher will make other arrangements to have the items delivered.
“I think they’ll be pretty happy,” DiPietro said, noting that Hiatus House was not aware at the moment of the amount of products collected by St. Louis students.