By Tim Leeds
The Havre High School Kids in Action not only made their goal to help the Community Giveaway House, they beat it by more than 50 percent.
"It was more successful than we thought it would be," Mary Wagner said.
Wagner, who supervised the kids along with Kay Nessland and Bruce Finneman, said they raised more than $3,100 for the house. Their goal was $2,000. Wagner said the Giveaway House is now caught up and has a little extra.
"That was what our goal was," Wagner said, "to pay the bills and give them a cushion to fall back on."
Wagner said they just received a $1,000 check from a donor in Oregon, who wished to remain anonymous, day before yesterday. She said the generosity at the events where they collected was very apparent, with people dropping 10s, 20s, 5s, loose change or personal checks into the collection. One person gave a $500 personal check, she said. The Havre High Student Council also made a $100 donation.
"We want to thank the entire community as well as the outside community," Wagner said, "for caring about Kids in Action and being part of the team. We just want to thank everyone for their generosity."
The volunteer students from the high school canvassed the crowds at local events to collect for the Giveaway House. Wagner said one student would announce the collection to the crowd before the event, then about six would go through the audience with collection cans. She said they mostly hit high school events, although they did collect at one middle school band concert.
Finneman's production tech class also made two new collection bins for the house, with the Kids in Action purchasing the materials for the bins. Wagner said the Giveaway House has already received most of the donations, and that they were taking over the new bins and the rest of the money today.
The Kids in Action will continue to help the Giveaway House later this spring, Wagner said. She said there are several buildings attached as part of the Giveaway House, but they are in pretty rough shape and are all different colors. Once the winter weather is past, Wagner said, they are going to work on the buildings, painting them all one color, doing some sanding and some things that need to be done.
Nessland said the whole idea started when she read a letter to the editor from Sister Judith Meander describing the difficulties the Giveaway House was in. She said they knew kids at the high school wanted to help their community, but didn't seem to have any ideas what they could do.
The Giveaway House doesn't receive any special funding and relies completely on free-will donations. Ann Friesen, who runs the house, said that sometimes it's difficult to pay the expenses, such as taxes, utilities and insurance.
The Giveaway House collects items people would need through donations to the house, such as clothing, furniture, bedding and kitchen and living room items. They then give them to anyone who needs them, at no charge.