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Hamagrael kids lend a hand

More than 50 students of Hamagrael Elementary school took the time to stay after school and lend their less fortunate brethren a hand Wednesday, Jan. 19, during a Kids Helping Kids Committee workshop.

The kids made sandwiches to be distributed through the Homeless Outreach Committee's Outreach Van, created birthday bags for kids undergoing treatment at St. Catherine's Center for Children and made craft kits for sick children at Albany Medical Center.

Having students directly doing hands on work, the committee's goal, is good for their development, said Hamagrael Principal David Ksanznak.

It's a wonderful program that we have here, he said. "It's good for kids to see the value in helping others, and they've really jumped on board with all their projects."

Usually the group goes outside the school's walls, however. This is the first time in the committee's roughly 10 years that a project was held after school, said committee member Becky Lane.

"We tried to do it at the school to make it easier for students and parents," she said.

That seemed to pay off Wednesday, as kids made 75 sandwiches, two dozen craft kits and two dozen birthday bags.

"We could've done twice that if we had known that many kids were coming," said Lane.

The committee gets involved in a variety of efforts, and students often go out into the community to help sort food at the Bethlehem Food Pantry or hold a Halloween party at the Beverwyck nursing home. An Adopt a Snowflake Drive this year collected presents for Unity Household families.

"The community is really awesome about these kids and projects," Lane said. "Almost every event we do is well attended."

The Kids Helping Kids Committee will travel to Albany's south end in April to serve lunch at the St. John's and St. Ann's Outreach Center.

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