Students lend world a hand

FAIRMONT – Students at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Fairmont celebrated chapel for Lutheran Schools Week by blessing and giving to others.

Students offered boxes and boxes of blankets, health kits and backpacks to Orphan Grain Train, an organization dedicated to gathering supplies from volunteers throughout the country and making them available to those in need around the world.

“[This] is one of the ways you can participate in blessing this broken world,” Pastor Thomas Fast told the students.

Third-grade teacher Elaine Leider said students gathered so many boxes, gathered in her classroom, that they had to send a load to the Orphan Grain Train storage facility early so she could continue to have space for teaching.

In addition to the material donation, students were able to give a check for $750, which Orphan Grain Train representative Arno Norman said will be used for shipping the items.

Norman said the donations and the collecting are done by volunteers – only 3 cents of every dollar goes to paying staff.

After items are gathered in the Fairmont warehouse, then shipped to a regional collection center in Nebraska. Staff there decide where in the world the items will be most beneficial. Sometimes, items are sent within the United States; other times they are shipped internationally.

“It all goes someplace,” Norman said. “I just don’t know exactly where.”

Orphan Grain Train is affiliated with the Lutheran Church.

Leider said students have been participating in special activities each week during January to celebrate Lutheran Schools Week, which the school chose to celebrate throughout the month.