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Queens Chronicle

Lending soldiers a helping hand

St. Helen students collect coupons for military

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Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:28 am, Mon Feb 27, 2012.

For students in St. Helen’s Kiwanis Builders Club, changing the world can be as simple as picking up a pair of scissors.

The young activists are conducting a coupon drive to support military families —and all residents have to do to participate is cut out supermarket product manufacturers’ coupons and drop them off at St. Helen School at 83-09 157 Ave. in Howard Beach, the Queens Chronicle office at 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park or Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office at 93-06 101 Ave. in Ozone Park.

“This is really important because it will help the military families financially and let them know we care,” Jenna M., a seventh grade student and president of the Builders Club, said at her group’s meeting this week.

St. Helen administrators asked that students’ last names not be used because they did not have parental consent.

The students in the Builders Club, which is supported by the Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach, have already collected $20,000 worth of coupons and hope to donate as much as $100,000 in coupons to a U.S. Army program that uses them to purchase food and supplies for military men and women.

The Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach and Giovanni Distributors will award $250 each to two students, one from the Builders Club and another from the general student body, who bring in the greatest amount in coupons.

Steve Sirgiovanni, the immediate past president of the Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach, noted he found out about the coupon program from Richmond Hill South Civic Association President Margaret Finnerty, who has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in coupons.

“I felt this would be a good project for the children, because what else is better than to help the people fighting for our freedom?” Sirgiovanni said.

Students will be collecting coupons until the end of the year. Coupons may be from newspapers, magazines or the Internet.

The effort is one of many projects the group has undertaken since the service club was formed at St. Helen last spring.

Under the guidance of Kiwanis members and faculty advisor Amy Baumgarten, students organized bake sales to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s and Mount Sinai hospitals. They also raised funds for victims of the devastating tornado last year in Mississippi.

Nicholas A. said the club has helped to make him and his peers believe they can make a dent in the world’s problems.

“It feels good to be able to help people,” he said.

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