ELF project assists 21 Lanesville families
Twenty-one Lanesville-area families are going to have a brighter Christmas this year, thanks to the generosity of the Lanesville Community School Corp. and the community in Franklin Township.
The ELF (Encouraging Lanesville Families) Project started out of a desire by the Lanesville Junior-Senior High School Student Council to give back to the community, in some small way.
Chris Ehalt, a senior at Lanesville and the student council president, said originally the students considered adopting an angel from an Angel Tree. That idea grew into a small canned food drive and skyrocketed from there.
‘It got bigger than we thought it was going to be,’ Ehalt said. ‘Which is always good.’
Lanesville Junior-Senior High School principal Janet Page said, initially, the goal was to get an average donation of $50 for each employee in the corporation, about 90 people. Instead of reaching their goal, they surpassed it, raising an average of $100 per employee, for a total of $9,157.
Students and staff knew it wasn’t just money the families would need, so they set another goal for collecting non-perishable food donations. What started as a goal of about 4,000 items, be it canned food or other donations, ended with a total of 5,501 donated non-perishable food goods.
‘The message is, we tried to show what the spirit of the season is,’ said interim Supt. Sam Gardner. ‘And do it together as a staff and students.’
Faculty and staff used some of the money raised to buy Christmas presents for members of the families, taking Lanesville activity buses to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Corydon on Dec. 6 and loading them with gifts. These, along with the food items, were given to the families Friday afternoon, after an assembly was held that morning to allow the students, staff and community members to see what Lanesville was able to do.
‘I can tell you when the idea started, I thought we might be able to help four or five families and 10 or 12 children,’ Page said. ‘That we’ve provided support during the holidays for 21 families and 47 children is a true statement about what this community in Lanesville is all about. I’m so fortunate to be a part of it.’
Elementary principal Marsha Himmelhaver agreed.
‘As a ‘long-timer’ at Lanesville schools, I can only reflect on the fact that it is this type of community (and) school spirit that makes us who we are,’ she said. ‘Looking back in time, I believe we have many past Lanesville teachers and administrators smiling down on us today. I am truly blessed to be a part of the Lanesville school community.’
Ehalt hopes the success of this year’s program is something that will inspire the students that are set to follow.
‘It sets a bar for future classes,’ Ehalt said. ‘I hope they look forward to it and make it bigger every year.’
Aaron Guernsey, the school’s band director, raised the most money, with a total of $824.17 in donations. Fifth-grade teacher Lindsay Davis had the most food item donations, with 737 total.