Riverview Elementary STARs help the homeless

Special to The Fort Mill TimesMarch 10, 2014 

— It’s not for credit. There’s no textbook. But when it comes to the subject of service, Brenda Greene is one of Riverview Elementary School’s most qualified teachers.

As a school custodian, she knowsabout taking care of people and getting things done. When she heard Dr. Ronal King of the Rock Hill-based Feed The Hungry organization speak about families displaced by the economy, Greene brought the issue to her school family.

The solution was a school-wide Hearts for the Homeless service project to collect personal hygiene items to donate to Feed The Hungry. Each grade was responsible for an item. Following the donation drive, 25 fifth-graders in STAR – Students Taking Responsibility at School – assembled hygiene product packets to serve more than 50 people.

Each packet included a note from the students written on a paper heart.

King, whose organization serves the homeless and those who do not qualify for other types of assistance in York County and surrounding areas, visited the school March 4 to receive the donations and speak with the STARs. King said displaced families and individuals live in their cars or shelters and use public restrooms to wash and get ready for their day.

“Personal hygiene items are expensive,” he said. “If I have to choose between them and food, I’m going to have to choose food.”

Riverview Elementary principal Annette Chinchilla thanked Greene for her “wonderful solution to this problem.”

Greene and fellow custodian Henry Stewart “are part of our family,” Chinchilla said. “They’re great role models for our children.”

She also challenged student leaders to continue the Hearts for the Homeless project and pointed out some of the lessons they learn.

“A lot of children get this in church or at home, but some don’t,” Chinchilla said. “They learn ‘It’s not just me in my little world. It’s me and how I fit into the bigger world. Sometimes I am the helper and sometimes I’m receiving it.’”

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