Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In Spirit of the Season St. Dominic Students Eagerly Plan Trip to Benefit Poor in Appalachia

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In Spirit of the Season St. Dominic Students Eagerly Plan Trip to Benefit Poor in Appalachia

Article excerpt

Students at St. Dominic High School are eagerly looking forward to the school's annual Christmas project, a 520-mile trip to a poverty-stricken area in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky.

"We've been doing this Christmas thing for seven years," said Frank Eck, dean of students at the Catholic school and originator of the project.

Each year, students take a truckload of furniture, children's clothing and gifts to poor people in the area around Hazard, Ky., which, Eck says, is in "one of the poorest counties in the country."

On Dec. 16, about 30 of the roughly 130 seniors in the class will climb into a school bus for the three-day round trip. Also along will be three teachers, Ed Imgrund, Dave Fitzler and Joe Haug, who will be taking his Santa suit.

The group will sleep on the floor of a church sacristy in Hazard the first night. The next day, they will drive about 40 miles to Drift, a town of several hundred people, to unload furniture and give gifts to some of the adopted families. Then the students will return to Hazard, where they will renew friendships and spend the night at the church before returning Sunday.

The group is still looking for donations.

"We are taking children's clothes up to size 14, but not adults'," said Eck, "and we will also take good used furniture. And because we will buy groceries, we will happily take any monetary donations offered."

Another truck, about 15 or 25 feet long, is needed, says Eck, because the trailer is nearly full of furniture, which has been collected since last Christmas.

Eck says he is thankful the manager of the Shop n' Save in O'Fallon is trying to reduce the cost of food bought for the people in Kentucky.

The students will be taking gifts for about 40 families, adopted by area residents, a Maryville University social action group and St. Dominic students in eight home rooms.

Many of the students will be renewing friendships in Kentucky with young people they met while visiting last summer. …

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