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Students bringing warmth to season

Children pick up their bags of presents from Santa Claus at the Christmas party at the South Point Community Center organized by South Point High School students in 2019. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Four student groups in county get grants for charitable efforts

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Four student groups at schools in Lawrence County have received funds for use toward charitable efforts this holiday season.

The Big Cover Up awards started nearly 20 years ago as a partnership between United Way of the River Cities and Advantage Toyota. Local schools in Cabell, Lincoln, Mason and Wayne counties in West Virginia and Lawrence County were invited to apply for this match-based grant program to help fund a school project.

“The project had to be student-led, sponsored by a school club or organization and have faculty oversight,” Rachel Houston, director of community impact at UWRC, said. “The project also had to involve fundraising by the students — grant dollars awarded are added to dollars raised by the students. These funds are used by the students to purchase items for other students.”
Projects included coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots or other items of clothing, items to stock school pantries (e.g., non-perishable foods, toiletries and hygiene supplies) and/or holiday gifts. Students selected who the projects will serve; some were designed to help children at feeder schools, which is an elementary or middle school in the system that will eventually “feed” students into the high school, while others want to provide for their peers at their own school.

“These projects certainly help meet the needs of students in our area who are lacking in warm clothes or other personal needs, but they also serve a very important function for the students who design and complete the projects: these young men and young women learn about the needs that exist in our community and they learn they can take an active role in meeting some of those needs,” Houston said. “They become more sensitive to others around them and also come away from these experiences with a greater appreciation for what they themselves are lucky enough to have. It’s truly a win-win.”

The 2020 Recipients of the Big Cover Up Grants from Lawrence County:

• Symmes Valley High School’s Student Council in Lawrence County – awarded $2,000 to provide winter clothes and food to feeder elementary students.

• Fairland High School’s BETA Club in Lawrence County – awarded $1,500 to provide clothes, coats and shoes to feeder elementary students.

• South Point High School’s Rho Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta and Student Council in Lawrence County – awarded $2,000 to provide winter clothes and Christmas gifts to feeder elementary students.

• Dawson Bryant High School’s Mu Alpha Theta and Christian Youth Association in Lawrence County – awarded $2,000 to provide coats, shoes, socks and winter attire to feeder elementary and Dawson Bryant High School students.