International Academy Bloomfield Hills

December 10, 2009 by USA Post 

International Academy Bloomfield Hills:Amanda Gach approached several members of her church congregation with a simple plea: She needed toiletry items, such as shampoo and toothpaste, for needy senior citizens at the Grove Crest Assisted Living Center in Pontiac.

Parishioners answered the 14-year-old’s request with enough toiletries to fill 50 small travel bags, which Amanda delivered this week to the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, where representatives from Grove Crest picked up the items to distribute.

“Everyone I talked to about it brought in stuff,” said Amanda, who attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bloomfield Hills. “It makes me feel good as a person to reach out to others.”

The items will benefit 49 residents at the assisted-living center who live on $809.30 a month in Medicaid subsidy, said Liz Edgar, the center’s director. In addition to room and board, the funds pay for clothing and food for the residents.

Amanda said she initially got the idea for creating the toiletry bags from her father, who frequently travels and had a lot of empty toiletry bags at their Troy home.

She had no idea where she would donate the bags until she heard that employees at the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency were collecting items for Grove Crest, where she volunteered this summer.

Each bag bears a gift tag with the scripture: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

“It’s so helpful to us to get personal items donated,” said Edgar, who has worked at the center for 17 years. “A lot of the residents don’t have family, so this means a lot to them.”

This year, Edgar said, Department of Human Services officials, who normally donated toiletry items, informed the center that they could no longer drop off items because of budget cuts.

The cuts prompted employees at the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, just blocks away Grove Crest, to donate toiletries including body wash, lotion, soap and razors to the assisted-living facility.

For Amanda, the project was a way of practicing a fundamental teaching she learned through her church youth group.

“It teaches us how to reach out to the community,” said Amanda, a ninth grader at International Academy in Bloomfield Hills. “I think it’s important to stress the idea of giving back to the community.”

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