Key Club Lends a Helping Hand

Key Club members volunteered their time on Saturday, January 18, to help the needy in Africa through the Africa Project.
“I volunteered because I genuinely love to help people,” said Mie Abouelkheir’16. “When I grow up, I want to join the Peace Corp, or UNICEF, and I believe this is great training for the future.”
The Africa Project is an event where students come together and fill a large container with donated items to send to Africa. The donations are collected and organized by the US-Africa Children’s Fellowship (USACF). USACF’s President and Co-founder, Mark Grashow, founded the USACF in 2003, two years after he retired from teaching at Abraham Lincoln High School, alongside his wife, Sheri Saltzberg. USACF is devoted to expanding education in Africa. The organization supports thousands of students in more than 250 schools in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Botswana, and South Africa by sending them necessary school supplies.
“The school supplies were collected throughout the year as donations for Africa,” announced Mr. Garshow.
Mr. Grashow is the reason the Midwood Key Club is involved in this event. Six years ago, Mr. Grashow reached out to the club to set up this event. Ever since then, Key Club members have been volunteering and helping out.
The event was held at 370 Meter Operations Facility, Vandervoort Avenue. To get to the location, students had to meet outside the school at 8:20 a.m. However, volunteers that arrived early were the ones that got the opportunity to attend the event because the yellow school bus that was taking them to the event was packed tightly. 15 football players from Abraham Lincoln High School also came to volunteer, so they were in the bus as well. The bus was so crammed that three students had to sit in one seat, which is meant for just two people.
Paul Litvak, an Abraham Lincoln High School volunteer, revealed that Lincoln football players were offered the opportunity to help out in this event, and many of them gladly took advantage of the opportunity.
Litvak said, “As soon as I heard about this event, I wanted to take part in it since it’s such a good cause.”
When the students arrived at the location, the containers with the donated items were already there, but they had to wait for more than an hour for the loading container. While waiting, rain, sleet, and hail came rushing down on the volunteers. Students had to keep shelter in one of the small, open containers. After a while, the loading container finally arrived and the students got to work.
The donations were passed from one container to the loading container in an assembly line fashion. Some students, along with Lincoln volunteers, were in the loading container while majority of the other students were passing boxes of donations to the front.
Kayla Harrod’14 said, “Despite the cold, we are moving at a much faster rate than we did at last year’s Africa Project.”
After a good two hours of hard work, more than half the container was filled. The students were also given a lunch break, where they were offered pizza and soda for their hard work. The volunteers enjoyed the break and continued working after a while for half an hour to finish off the rest of the container. This container was being sent to Zimbabwe, and the cost to send it there was $13,000, which the USACF tried to raise year round along with the donations.
Volunteer Houin Chan’16 revealed that she felt proud and accomplished because it was a great experience, and she knows that this hard work is going to pay off and will affect the lives of several children in Africa.
Key Club advisor and teacher John White believes the event was a great success because more than 30 students came and worked efficiently despite the bad weather.
“I like helping others and doing things I know will affect others in a good way,” said Ahsan Malik’16. “This is the reason I joined Key Club, to help others in need and make a difference; by participating in this event, I think I did that.”

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