Students volunteer for parish’s largest effort

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Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune | Benton Middle School Principal Kyle Machen and daughter, Moloy Machen, pack a box of donated dinner plates at the Renesting Project, Inc. in Bossier City during the Bossier Schools Day of Service Oct. 24.

Bossier Schools partnered with the United Way of Northwest Louisiana for one of the largest volunteer events of its kind in the Bossier Parish.

More than 300 students, employees and parents served their community Oct. 24 by participating in 15 volunteer projects around the parish, including animal shelters, the Renesting Project, the Northwest Louisiana War Veteran Home, Evergreen Ministries, the Benny Walker Helping Hands Ministry, Bossier Council on Aging, city recreation centers…the list goes on from there. The one-day, community-wide volunteer event had volunteers working at food pantries, cleaning kennels at animal shelters, sorting clothing for volunteer agencies, packing Geaux Bags for foster children, writing letters and delivering treats.

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Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune

Mary Claire Shaw, a sophomore at Haughton High School, spent the morning with her classmates at the Renesting Project, Inc. in Bossier City. Shaw, who is the sophomore class president, was eager to give back in a big way.

Students from Haughton High School and Benton Middle School worked with the Renesting Project, Inc. to sort and pack refurbished furniture and home goods that will be used to create a home for a couple transitioning out of homelessness within the community.

With that in mind, the groups set out to help fill the lists of items the couple would need to make their house a home. Knowing their work would make an impact on someone’s life gave Shaw an emotional experience.

“It’s amazing to see how they help people get back on their feet,” Shaw said. “I’ve seen people go through this sort of thing. Everyone deserves to have a beautiful home. We’re not just here to box things up; we’re giving someone a new beginning at life.”

This was the school district’s first Day of Service in conjunction with the United Way of Northwest Louisiana. Bossier Schools Superintendent D.C. Machen and President and CEO of United Way of Northwest Louisiana Bruce Willson visited several of the worksites to lend a helping hand.

“A Day of Service goes hand in hand with Helping Hearts: The Power of We, our district-wide community service initiative now in its third year,” said Superintendent Machen. “At Bossier Schools, we are blessed in many ways and want to be a blessing to others. This is one way we can show it and demonstrate to our young people the importance of serving others and making the community in which they live a better place.”

Willson added, “It is truly amazing to see so many individuals from Bossier Schools who are willing to help their neighbor, roll up their sleeves, lend a hand, and do the things that are necessary to make sure this area and the people who call it home are safe and strong.”