When Peggy Connolly heard about a Saratoga Springs high school student who couldn't play gym because he didn't have sneakers, she knew she had to do something; so she started the Lend-a-Hand program, three years ago.
On Friday, March 12, the program will have its sole fundraiser of the year, with a pre-prom fashion show in the high school auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Students will model the latest prom fashions provided by local retailers; The Clothes Horse, Rockabella, Bird of Paradise, The Shoppe, Danielle's Bridal, and Treasures Thrift Shop. There will be raffles, a silent auction and the PTSO will collect gently-used prom attire. Last year's fundraiser raised $1,500 and Connolly hopes to reach and exceed that, this year.
Lend-a-Hand is an anonymous program. The school nurse, counselors, psychologist or teachers request items and Connolly shops for them. The mother of three boys who went through the high school said they're generally small items like hats, gloves, hoodies, sneakers or socks. Sometimes a counselor asks for an outfit for a special needs student, this year someone requested boots and Connolly has provided eyeglasses with a free eye exam. She said she provides the nurse will small quantities of shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and other toiletries that she puts in a basket on her desk; that way, students who may be too embarrassed to ask for help can take what they need.
I feel bad for students who don't have sneakers or hygiene supplies. I think every student in our high school should have the basics, said Connolly.
She said the community has been extremely supportive of the fashion show, which Connolly decided on because she thought it would be appropriate for the season between holidays and racing.
"I know the community is hit for so much during other times of the year. Kids love to sign up to model and there are plenty of parent volunteers," said Connolly.
Tickets for the fashion show are $5 for students and $7 for adults. Financial donations to the Lend-a-Hand program can be made payable to the SSHS PTSO and sent to SSHS PTSO, 3 Blue Streak Blvd., Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866.