Local kids pitch in with disaster relief effort

By Marianne Apfelbaum
Observer staff

Just as adults have been horrified and saddened by news of the conditions facing victims of Hurricane Katrina, so too have children, who may also feel frightened and confused after viewing scenes of death and destruction they do not fully understand.

“I watched the news and it made me upset,” said Kelcey Lamphere, 13, of Williston. “It looked hectic and there was lots of confusion about getting help to people.”

Kelcey and her friend Sarah Thompson, 12, decided to funnel their fears and frustrations into positive action. They established Katrina Relief of Williston to empower other children, and adults, to help as well.

The Wildflower Circle residents began last week by spending three hours baking batches of brownies, which they offered for sale around their neighborhood. They’ve already raised $62 and are taking their efforts a step further this week by coordinating a bake sale in Williston Central School’s Voyager House.

“We’ll have the bake sale Friday, and also be putting out boxes for donations of water, clothes, nonperishable food and daily essentials like toothpaste and toothbrushes,” said Kelcey.

The duo are also hoping to put donation boxes at various other locations, including the Williston Central and Allen Brook school offices and the town library, “so people all over town can donate,” explained Kelcey. Their goal, said Thompson, is to raise at least $150 and bring the money and other donations to the Red Cross for distribution to the hurricane-affected areas.

For Kelcey, the disaster has become even more personal. Her father, Bryan, is a technical sergeant with the Vermont Air National Guard, and is now on standby for possible deployment to the hurricane-stricken area to assist with relief efforts.

Local animal lovers have also assisted with the relief effort, including Cassie Green, 10, of Williston. With the help of her mother, Susie, she has been going door-to-door collecting donations for the Humane Society to help animal victims of the hurricane.

“There are lots of people donating for humans, so I thought it was a good idea to help animals, too,” said Cassie. She has collected more than $100 so far, and hopes to set up donation boxes at Williston schools this week.

Both groups have set a limit of two weeks to collect donations.

Those who want more information on helping animal victims can call Susie Green at 878-4511. For more information on Katrina Relief of Williston, contact Kelcey Lamphere at 872-8875.

Those who wish to donate can also do so directly through the American Red Cross or the Humane Society of Greater Burlington.

The Selectboard, at its Aug. 22 meeting, agreed that the zoning ordinances should be amended to allow for an electronic scoreboard, but did not agree on whether advertising should be permitted on the scoreboard and on fences surrounding the field.

“The good thing is we’re going to have a scoreboard,” Healy said. “Whether there will be good news down the road as far as whether or not the Little League can be self-sufficient, we’ll have to see.”

The estimated cost of the scoreboard is $5,000. Coca-Cola has offered to pay for the scoreboard if a portion of it is devoted to advertising one of its products.

A Williston health club, Sports & Fitness Edge, has also offered to buy a scoreboard, but the business said it would not require its logo or advertisement to be placed on it. The town also considered paying for the scoreboard, a motion that is currently tabled.

The Little League wants to sell banners with sponsor advertising, which would hang on outfield fences, to generate revenue. Healey said the revenue would offset expenses, which include uniforms, field maintenance and equipment. The Little League would split the revenue from the sales of the advertisements with the town. Healey said the town’s portion of the revenue could be used for field maintenance.