Students walk to buy Christmas presents for others

Mary Claire Noakes
Hadley-Luzerne Lions Club President Diana Pataki (R) with Stuart M. Townsend Middle School Student Council officers and Lions Quest class members.

Stuart M. Townsend Middle School students participated in Santa's Sprint, raising more than $7000, which was used to purchase toys for children in need in the Hadley-Luzerne school area at Christmas.

The annual walk-a-thon, held in late fall, is a joint effort by the Hadley-Luzerne Lions Club and Lions Quest, a class at the middle school taken by fifth- and sixth-graders to learn more about self-esteem, decision-making skills and becoming involved community members. About 175 volunteers from the student body, faculty and staff as well as parents and interested community members participated.

The walk was held in November, and students shopped for and wrapped the presents in December. This year, more than 125 children received the toys, delivered by the Lions Club.

The student council members also supported the Lions Club canned food drive, collecting more than 1750 cans, which helped the Lions make baskets for Christmas dinner for more than 80 families.

Lions President Diana Pataki presented a certificate of appreciation to Lions Quest students Christopher Fish and Christina Tracey and student council officers Jason Allen, Brendan Welch, Shannon Welch and Kati Gilbert at a recent dinner meeting.