MILTON — Surrounded by dozens of Milton Middle School students, the excitement Lois Passi felt Thursday as she accepted a check for $1,200 was evident to all.

Passi, the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way’s Local Vision chair, said she nearly fell off of her chair when she received an email stating the students had raised the funds to purchase six new beds for local residents in need.

“This is very significant,” Passi said, of the donation. “I was reaching out to schools to see if they would take on the project of raising $200 for one bed.”

Heaven Reinard, co-advisor of the school’s Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) club, said students in the club joined forces with student council to organize a dance to raise funds for the cause.

Students involved in the fundraising efforts said the cause was an easy one to get behind.

“A lot of people in Milton, kids in Milton, go without a bed at night,” Leah Willow, student council president, said.

Lydia Crawford, a member of WEB, said she was surprised to learn of the need.

“We never realized how many people don’t have somewhere to go at night to get a good night’s sleep,” she said.

“This shows that our student body is really helpful and ready to give back,” Hunter Zettlemoyer, another student involved with WEB, added.

Passi said the community at large doesn’t always realize the number of people who don’t have beds.

“There are periods when we get three or four calls (for beds),” Passi said.

Many of the beds go to families who receive assistance following domestic violence incidents.

Passi praised the students for their efforts.

“It usually takes a long time just to get a couple hundred dollars,” she said. “You guys took the ball and ran with it… I hope you realize how powerful you are. I hope you will remember that and be proud of that for the rest of your lives.”

Reinard also praised the students for their efforts, noting that they organized the fundraiser dance in less than one week.

“This a group of leaders,” she said of the WEB members. “We have seventh and eighth graders that are proud to be involved with this… We have really great kids in this building.”

In addition to organizing the dance, she said students sold baked goods and other items to raise funds for the cause. Twin sisters Tori and Brianna Gordner raised $75 by making wrist/hair bands and selling them to other students.

Reinard noted that she and Miranda Roush are the WEB co-advisors. Wally Blair and Nate Richie are the student council co-advisors.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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