Top of the Morning, Feb. 4, 2014
In November, the Marajen Stevick Foundation — which owns The News-Gazette and our radio stations — put up $25,000 to match tornado relief donations to the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois. This week — as Gifford continues its long road back — we'll spotlight acts of generosity en route to that $25,000, which I'm happy to report was raised quickly.
Once a month as part of what's called a "Caring CommUNITY" project, the kids at Unity West Elementary School are asked to think outside the classroom.
"We want them to do something for somebody else and not just think about themselves," principal Janet Ellis-Nelson said. "I'm very proud of them in that no matter what idea we throw out to them, they always back it."
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In December, the 494 Rockets — kindergarten through fifth grade from the towns of Tolono, Pesotum and Sadorus — targeted tornado-ravaged communities in central Illinois. They produced gift cards to Washington and a check for $257.67 — which was matched by our foundation — to Gifford.
"Just seeing it on the news and in the newspapers, they knew how awful it was," Ellis-Nelson said. "All of us felt terrible about that and knew something like that could happen to us, also."
Whether it's writing notes to nursing homes, collecting Halloween candy for troops or donating canned goods for a food drive, the kids at Unity West definitely get it. In January, they raised $828 to go toward a school volunteer's medical bill.
Not that the Rockets need us writing about it.
"It's in the giving that we receive," Ellis-Nelson said. "We aren't doing these things to be thanked."