By Tim Leeds
Bruce Finneman's construction tech class at Havre High School has spent the week building some collection bins for the Community Giveaway House.
The project is in conjunction with the HHS Kids in Action work to help out the giveaway house. Ann Friesen, who runs the house with Ruth Nystrom, said the help they are getting is really appreciated.
"Isn't that wonderful," she said. " It makes me want to cry."
Friesen said that, since they aren't funded by anyone and depend on free-will donations, sometimes it's hard to pay expenses, such as power, garbage, taxes, insurance and so on.
"We were running short of funds we didn't have the funds to pay the bills," she said. " I'm sure it's God that helped us get the donations we've got. It's a lot better. We're really thankful."
Finneman said he was approached by Kay Nessland about building the collection bins for the giveaway house. Nessland, a counselor at the high school, is advising the Kids in Action along with HHS math teacher Mary Wagner.
Finneman said the Kids in Action are paying for the materials for the bins, and the class designed them and spent the week constructing them. He said he expects to finish them up, painting them and putting the lids on, next week.
Friesen said the new bins will also be greatly appreciated. The class gave them a new design, with a door on the front to make it easier to take donations out, as well as a lid on top to keep the weather out. Friesen said it was about time for some new bins for the house.
"We've had (the old bins) for quite a while," she said. "They're making (the new bins) a little easier to use. We're so thankful to them."
Nessland and Wagner started organizing the Kids in Action after they read a letter to the editor from Sister Judith Meander telling people about the giveaway house's need for help.
"I think it's wonderful of those teachers to take this on," Friesen said. "It's quite a job."
The students are also collecting free-will donations for the house before school activities, such as concerts and basketball games. After an announcement telling the audience what is happening, the students enter the seating and collect the donations. The students also plan to help paint and fix up the giveaway house next spring.
Friesen said they started the giveaway house 30 years ago. She said the donated items are available for anyone who needs them at no charge.
"We don't sell anything," she said.
She said they collect just about anything people would need through donations to the house, including clothing, furniture, kitchen and dining room items, bedding, which includes hand-made quilts, and more. She said people also donate hand-made hats and mittens.
"It's wonderful, the things they do for us," Friesen said.
She said they also give out a lot of food baskets, and the help from the Kids in Action and the rest of the community has been just in time.
"For a while there, we were wondering if we wouldn't be able to put a turkey in the baskets now we will, thank God," she said.