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Finding comfort in helping others

Schalmont students craft quillows for children at Ronald McDonald House

The Schalmont Middle School HUGS Club donated 20 quillows they made to the Ronald McDonald House in Albany on Monday, May 7.

The Schalmont Middle School HUGS Club donated 20 quillows they made to the Ronald McDonald House in Albany on Monday, May 7. Photo by John Purcell.

— When a child arrives at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany they might feel far from home, but Schalmont students are trying to make their stay a little more comfortable and welcoming.

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Schalmont HUGS Club members and Board Member of the Ronald McDonald House Dan Burns, far right, pose before 20 quillows were donated to the local organization.

The Schalmont Middle School’s Handicrafters Unite Giving Security (HUGS) Club donated 20 quillows to the Ronald McDonald House on Monday, May 7. The 14 club members crafted the quillows, which is a quilt with a pocket at one end allowing for it to transform into a pillow.

Dan Burns, board member of the Ronald McDonald House, attended a reception to receive the donations on behalf of the organization and thanked the students for their efforts.

“I think it is great each of you are involved in an activity that are supporting the community,” Burns said to the students.

Children from all over the state come to the house, which consists of two Victorian homes providing 16 rooms. Each family is given a room with its own bathroom and phone while a child is undergoing treatment at Albany Medical Center.

“The idea is to make kids feelat home,” Burns said. “These quillows are fabulous because it helps children who may have arrived at the Ronald House not expecting to be there.”

He said the quillows allow the children to have something that shows somebody cares about them and then they can take it home with them after leaving.

Diane Babin, HUGS Club advisor and home and careers teacher, said the club normally makes around 14 quillows to donate, but this year the group was able to exceed her expectations.

“You guys worked really hard this year and I am very pleased,” Babin said before awarding student with certificates.

Babin, who has advised the club for 11 years, said the students select where the quillows are donated and she likes having a representative come in to accept them. Two former teachers started the club in the fall of 2000.

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