Elementary Beta Club warms spirits with blanket drive

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2022

RESERVE — Just before Christmas break, the Riverside Academy Elementary Beta Club collected more than 300 blankets and socks to bring warmth to local senior citizens and families in need.

Riverside Academy donated 85 blankets to the residents of Chateau St. James, 50 blankets to the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, and another 200+ blankets and hundreds of sock donations to residents of South Lafourche who remain displaced by Hurricane Ida.

Officers Owen Guidry, president, Cole Jacob, vice president, Brinley Roccaforte, secretary, and Layla Price, treasurer, had the opportunity to personally deliver blankets to the residents of Chateau St. James.

All four of the officers qualified for the Elementary Beta Club last year as honor roll students. Stepping into leadership positions this year as fifth graders has been a rewarding experience that has allowed them to give back to their school and community.

“I wanted to join Beta Club to help others in need because it makes me feel very happy,” Brinley said.

The children agreed to deliver warm tidings for Christmas as the first cold fronts of winter started rolling in. They enjoyed seeing the reactions of Chateau St. James residents who were grateful for the donations.

Students also enjoyed conversing with the residents, as vice president Cole Jacob shared a special moment with a former MLB player.

“It was a very happy experience,” Cole said.

According to the Elementary Beta Club officers, the 50 blankets allocated to the St. John Sheriff’s Office will also be distributed to families in need. Deputies often keep blankets in their cars to be able to provide comfort to others during emergency situations.

This year wasn’t the first time Riverside has donated blankets to support their community, but Elementary Beta Club sponsor Molly Duhe said it’s the first year the blanket/sock drive has extended all the way to South Lafourche.

“We have a teacher who has a friend in South Lafourche. After Hurricane Ida, she was so touched by how people are still living in tent cities in that area. We were going to donate blankets to the nursing home and the sheriff’s office when she approached us with this need of all these people,” Duhe said. “We had more than 200 blankets and hundreds of pairs of socks sent to South Lafourche. They were overwhelmed with the amount and the love that was sent to them. It was a good event for all of us to experience, the kids, the parents, everyone. It was a positive thing for us to be a part of, and hopefully we will get to do it again.”

Owen and Layla said Beta Club participates in other fundraisers and activities on campus, most recently an after-school event where fifth graders helped younger children decorate cookies.

“We always help our community by doing service projects,” Layla said.

This semester, the Elementary Beta Club would like to plant some flowers to beautify Riverside Academy’s campus.