Kindergarteners, first graders at St. Bernadette bring smiles to tornado victims

AMELIA, Ohio -- The trail of damage an EF1 tornado left behind in Amelia is as difficult to ignore as it is to fix: Even weeks after it struck on March 1, homes on Locust Lake Road still sport splintered decks, fallen trees and roofs covered in blue tarp while their owners wait for complete repairs.

Liz Ingram, principal of Saint Bernadette School, said she knew the sight would be difficult for her young students to deal with, so she and her staff came up with a way to help them help others.

"Any bus passing through, the kids can see the damage to our neighborhood," she said. "This was an idea of a way to get them involved with something they can manage."

Kindergarten and first grade students from Saint Bernadette bundled up in winter coats and spent Thursday morning delivering handmade care packages to neighbors whose homes were damaged by the storm. The parcels included candy and letters written to cheer up their recipients.

"(We did it) to help the community and put a smile on their face," said first grader Addy Hatley.

For Ingram, it’s a way for the school and its students to live their Catholic mission in a concrete way.

"It just makes me feel good to know that they get to do something instead of just offer up a prayer without anything connected to it," Ingram said.

In addition to passing out those care packages, Ingram said students were also inviting their neighbors to a Lenten fish fry held at the school on Friday.

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