by Dennis Dalman
One day 14-year-old Grant Hamilton was talking with his mother when the subject of school supplies came up, and just then the idea struck Grant about how nice it would be if he and his friends could do a school-supply drive in his neighborhood.
He wanted to donate supplies to an agency who could give them to children who are less fortunate.
It didn’t take long before Grant’s idea became a reality. His friends and family members eagerly joined in the cause. They created flyers, which they delivered door-to-door in their neighborhood, the “Celebration” neighborhood in west Sartell. They also collected supplies from the nearby “Wilds” neighborhood.
A few days later, Grant gassed up the small tractor he uses for his own lawn-mowing service, then he hitched a trailer to it and away he and his friends went, house to house, collecting school supplies their neighbors generously donated.
All told, the children collected 12 new or slightly used backpacks with new school supplies for elementary-aged students. They also collected 10 backpacks and filled them with supplies for students in middle schools or high schools. They used the $72 of cash they collected to buy extra school supplies for the backpacks.
On Aug. 10, they delivered them to Place of Hope in St. Cloud. There, Pastor Geary Smith accepted the gifts with gratitude on behalf of the children who would receive them. Smith gave the children a tour of Place of Hope, where they learned about its daily community meal service for breakfast and dinner, its veterans’ housing program and other services it offers. Place of Hope helps provide needs for about 60 children. More school supplies, enough for 38 of the 60 children, would be most welcome, Smith noted.
The children who helped with the supply-drive, besides Grant, are Matt Eisenschenk, Jake Fernholz, Eddie Hamilton, Joanna Hamilton, Caleb Johnson, Graham Lorsung, Dylan Michaud, Will Schiffler, Gage Vierzba and Nate Warner.
Grant and his friends have decided to continue their schools-supply drive. Anything they receive that can’t be used this year will be stored away for use next year. People who would like to donate supplies or money can call Grant at 320-224-5255; or Margot (a mother of one of the supply-drive children) at 320-230-4804.
Donations can also be delivered or sent directly to Place of Hope. It’s address is 511 9th Ave. N., St. Cloud, MN 56303. Its phone number is 320-203-7881.