Area students Lend-A-Hand to less fortunate

WEIRTON – Twenty students from Weirton Madonna High School returned home Tuesday from a trip to Baileysville, W.Va., where they were helping the less fortunate as part of Lend-A-Hand Appalachia.

The students, along with six chaperones, spent six days in the southern West Virginia community, performing construction projects and other duties for residents of the town.

“The kids do all the fundraising for the supplies,” chaperone Erica Rogers said.

In addition to performing several odd jobs for several families, Rogers explained participants this year worked to put roofs on two houses, doing everything from the framing to placing the tar paper and shingles.

Amy Davis, a member of the Weirton Madonna Class of 2013 who has participated in Lend-A-Hand Appalachia for four years, explained participants in the program have become like a family as they work to help those in the Wyoming County community.

“I love the people I go with, but I also love that I’m helping others,” Davis said.

Rachel Gaughenbaugh, a first-time participant, said she was nervous at first, but quickly realized how important the work is.

“We got to see how appreciative the people were,” Gaughenbaugh said.

On Sunday, the students attended church services and prepared lunch for many in the community. Rogers said they also took some time for fun activities.

This is the 17th year students from Madonna have participated in the effort.

Lend-A-Hand Appalachia began as part of a project by five Madonna High School alumni in 1997, chaperoning a group of students to Whitesville, W.Va. where they helped build a house for a man who had been living in a tool shed.

Lend-A-Hand was officially formed as an organization in the spring of 2001, expanding its work to other communities and taking on bigger, more varied projects.

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