Kindergarten students at Portsmouth West Elementary collected change in their milk cartons to donate toward Riverdays candidate Miss West, Jade Ratliff’s community service platform — Positively Pink Packages for Patients. In total, the students raised $326 for the cause.
It all started in Lisa Belcher’s classroom with a student named Eli Blevins. During class, Blevins raised the question of how to collect money to make a change.
That same week, Ratliff sent out a list to the district, requesting items for her community service platform. Belcher decided to speak with her students and see if they wanted to help. They agreed that they would collect change in their milk cartons and donate the money to Miss West. The idea gained momentum and soon, all six kindergarten classes joined in to help.
Ratliff’s platform, Positively Pink Packages for Patients, centers around providing for those undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the SOMC Cancer Center.
The packages are collected in pink drawstring backpacks and contain items like snacks and candy along with personal items like chapstick and lotion as well as activity items like word-search and puzzle books. Ratliff was inspired by her mother, Paige Smith, who is a breast-cancer survivor.
“It feels amazing knowing that these students wanted to help me, my community is awesome. They’re really giving and loving and we care for each other — just like one big family. Knowing that I get to help people who are in the same situation my mom was in is really awesome. I know how down she was and she just wasn’t herself. So many people pitched in and helped our family when she was sick, so I’m glad I can pay that kindness forward.”
Smith says she is proud of her daughter and the students for helping those in need.
“It thrilled my soul when I found out Jade decided to use this as her platform,” said Smith. “When you get told you have cancer, that’s all you hear. I didn’t have any idea that I would be sitting in chemo for four hours with nothing to do. You always have a metal taste in your mouth and it isn’t a fun time. I think it’ll help brighten up their day. I’m proud that she’s going to provide things to patients that I never had.”
Ratliff will be collecting items through July 31.
Suggested items for donation include: word search/puzzle books, hard candy, gum, chapstick, lotion, nail files, pens, hi-lighters, breast-cancer related items, items that are pink, granola bars, colored pencils, mini bibles and notepads.
Donations can be dropped off at Portsmouth West High School, for more information, you can contact Jade at 740-357-7641.
For updates, you can follow Jade on Facebook by searching “Miss West 2017.”
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.