Jewell Cardwell

Kristin Manolas’ first-graders at Hartville Elementary School have much to feel good about this holiday season, although they probably never will see the fruits of their labor.

Doing good was more than enough, as they invited four other first-grade classes to join them in raising funds to help folks in developing countries.

“The first-graders informed Ms. Manolas they wanted to give back, but did not know where to start,” Lake Local Schools spokeswoman Julie McMahan said. “Through lively conversation, the children learned about basic needs: food, clothing, water and shelter. For many, the thought of not having clean drinking water was difficult to understand. But difficulty turned to compassion. And the class voted to collect money for a Water of Life container …

“Compassion [International] Water of Life tackles the urgent needs in developing countries, providing safe drinking water to children and families. Over 1.1 billion people are without access to safe water. Every day, women and children face the hardship of collecting water from long distances for their families. Once home, this dirty water endangers lives and prevents children from growing up into strong, healthy adults.”

The class and their peers raised enough money — $475 — to purchase six Water of Life containers.

“In our science and social studies curriculum, the first-grade teachers and I talked with the students about healthy living and germs,” Manolas said. “We also talked about countries around the world and disease/germs that can be in water. We shared pictures of these countries to help the students understand the concept of unclean and unsafe water. … I was able to obtain a Water of Life container filled with the water. The students observed how the filter on the bucket cleaned the dirty water and watched as their teachers drank the filtered water. … Many students were sympathetic and amazed.”

“I am so proud of all the first-grade students,” Manolas continued. “Each container can save a family with seven to 13 members, which positively affects up to 78, many of whom are children the same age and younger than our Lake students. It is a wonderful gift they are giving, and an even better real-life lesson!”

This just in: The class has since received a matching $475 donation!

A happy return

An anonymous woman saved Melody A. Yerkey from a big headache. Yerkey wanted to say thanks:

“I wanted to tell you about a wonderful person in the Akron area who found my purse in a shopping cart at the Cuyahoga Falls Target store. I discovered my purse was not in the car when I drove to Sam’s on Saturday [Dec. 7] after leaving Target. I drove back to Target, searched the carts, went to customer service and we searched the area where we check out. … As I was describing my purse and leaving information at customer service, my husband called and said a wonderful woman delivered my purse to the house.

“She said she saw it in a cart and felt best to bring it to the address on the license. She left quickly without saying a word and never giving her name. To her I would love to say a big thank you for taking the time out of her day to save mine! There are awesome people in our neck of the woods!”

Stranger to the rescue

Akron’s Kelly Gasparri offers heartfelt recognition for an anonymous man who put his life on the line to help a stranger: “I had just gotten off the Howe Road exit heading toward Chapel Hill Mall. There was a man in the center of the road trying to push his wheelchair up the road. I thought about stopping but I recently had shoulder surgery and knew I didn’t have the strength to do it.

“Just then a man came running down the road from Sheetz gas station. As I drove past, I could hear this man ask if the other guy needed help. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw this Good Samaritan pushing the wheelchair up the road. This Good Samaritan really put his life in danger with all the traffic that travels up and down Howe Avenue by Route 8.”

Help for cancer patients

“Are you, or someone you know, battling cancer and need assistance with rent, utilities, food, gas, etc.?” a communique from the Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation asks. Call them at 330-835-5985.

The Akron foundation aims to ease the worries of everyday life for those living with cancer. “And with the foundation, 90 cents out of every dollar received goes to assisting those touched by cancer. … This is a charity in the truest sense of the word.”

Interested in helping the foundation assist these families? Please visit www.stephencomunale.org or call 330-835-5985.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com.