Morgan students give

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 20, 2004

In the classrooms of Amy Coffee and Martha Walker, fourth-grade teachers at Morgan Academy, a string of lights decorates the walls. While the festive touch may be appropriate for the holiday season, for these fourth-graders, it means that 62 handicapped people in the world have the wheelchairs they desperately need.

Right now, a man in Jordan can get to a shelter in the Middle East when an air raid siren sounds because they helped buy him a wheelchair.

For the last three years, students in Amy Coffee and Martha Walker have been raising money during the holidays, helping handicapped people all over the world get around.

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“We string lights in the room and we light up a light for every five dollars,” Coffee said.

The students are responsible for collecting money for the International Wheelchair Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides wheelchairs for the needy all over the world.

For every $75 donated, the Wheelchair Foundation provides a matching $75 to buy a wheelchair.

This year, the students at Morgan raised $4,650.

“We actually had a smaller group of children this year,” Coffee said.

The program started three years ago, Coffee said, in conjunction with the Selma Rotary Club.

“We try to have some sort of service project for Christmas,” Coffee said. They were approached about the Wheelchair Foundation when members of the Rotary Club came calling, trying to get the fourth-graders involved.

The children and their parents are responsible for raising the money, any way they can.

Some children solicited donations door-to-door or from their churches, others broke into their piggy banks. All of them brought something, Coffee said.

The Wheelchair Foundation provides the class with folders, detailing who received their wheelchairs, with information about them.

That’s how the classes found out about the donations in Jordan.

“They were able to give mobility to people that needed to move when the sirens go off,” Coffee said.

In the last three years, the classes have raised enough money to buy 97 wheelchairs, which they are all very proud of.

“This is them (the children) giving, that’s one reason we do it,” Coffee said. “It’s a life on the other side of the world.”