2016-12-02 / Front Page

St. James students give the gift of warmth

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By ALAN BENNETT
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD — Hundreds of plastic bags, stuffed with hats, gloves, scarves and socks could be seen lining the perimeter of Williams Court Park on Thursday afternoon. 

The bags were the gift of students at St. James School, and were left hanging from the park fence for any and all in need of warm clothing this winter.

Nancy Naimey, principal of St. James School, said this is the second year students have participated in the event as part of the school’s “Casual for a Cause” days, held each month. 

“Each month at our school we have a Casual for a Cause Day, and our Student Council members determine the cause,” she said. “They do very varied experiences, whether it’s something national or local or something personal, and they vote on it.” 

Naimey said that last year someone — somewhere — saw scarves hung from a tree for those in need, and brought the idea to the council, which gave it the OK. She said students hung about 300 bags along the fence of Williams Court Park, and the next day only three remained. 

“You knew it was an area that needed it, so this year no one had to say anything. They wanted to do it again because of the success of last year,” she said. 

This year, around a dozen members of the Student Council hung nearly 200 bags from the park’s fence, about three-quarters of the total bags filled. The remaining quarter would go to the Saco Meals on Wheels program, which Student Council Advisor Marcy Fournier said has a table for a similar cause. 

“It’s really in their heart. They really want to do it,” Fournier, who teaches second grade, said about the students. “The Student Council are representatives for the whole school, so I think it kind of shows what the whole school is about.

"That’s what St. James is about is helping others," she said. 

And students agreed. 

“I feel good about it because not everyone’s as fortunate as other people,” said third-grader Josh Dube, 9, as he hung a bag of gloves on the fence. “It’s really important. It’s being a helpful part of your community and it helps others.” 

But above all else, some students said, taking part in the event was just plain fun. 

“You’re helping others who don’t have as much things as you. But it’s more fun because you can have fun doing it and you’re helping others while you’re doing it,” said nine-year-old Camryn Houle. 

Naimey said she’s proud of her students because of their commitment to helping others. To know her students genuinely want to help people, she said, was just, “awesome.” 

“That’s why it's awesome to work in the school I work in, because you have kids that think like that,” Naimey said. “They’re thinking of others, they’re thinking of things that we can do, and isn’t that what we want in adults?”

“If we start talking to them now and, hopefully, as they get older and they’re able to do more,” she said, “They’ll be thinking, ‘How can I help?’”

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com. 

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