Students learn about the knead to help the needy

Amelia Holliday Staff Reporter aholliday@civitasmedia.com

May 7, 2014

HAZARD—It’s safe to say that the majority of residents in Eastern Kentucky know the basic ingredients needed to make biscuits—flour, buttermilk, and butter—but the second graders at A.B. Combs Elementary learned this week, as part of a fundraising prize, that it also takes a little giving to make some biscuits a little extra special.

A.B. Combs Elementary Principal Michelle Ritchie explained that the students at the school had been in a competition recently to see which grade could raise the most money for a charitable cause, one that helps the students at the school every year.

“Basically, what the kids did is, we sent home notes and they all took up donations that would go toward the Ronald McDonald’s dental van,” Ritchie said. “We thought it was a really good cause because they come to us every year, the dental van comes and all of our kids see them.”

The school as a whole raised just over $500, Ritchie said, half of that coming just from the second grade class.

“They weren’t selling doughnuts, they weren’t doing our typical fundraisers, it was more about giving to somebody else,” she said. “It’s all about the community.”

As a reward for being the class with the most donations, Diana Patula, co-owner of both the East Main Street and Combs Road McDonald’s restaurants, invited the students to come learn to make biscuits at the store Wednesday morning that would be donated to Hazard’s Corner Haven homeless shelter later that day.

“They’re learning to make biscuits, and we’ll be talking about the food pyramid,” Patula said before the students arrived at the Combs Road location on Wednesday. “We’re going to talk a little bit while they’re making biscuits about charity and how it’s good to help your community and to help others that are in need.”

Patula added that she and her husband, as co-owners of the two stores, would be matching the funds raised by second graders, bringing the total of funds raised for the dental van to over $750.

“I am so proud of them, I’m just so proud that they are learning this at such a young age, how to be charitable, how to help others who are in need,” Patula said of the students.

Dr. Nikki Stone, with the Ronald McDonald dental van, also spoke to the students about proper dental care and which types of drinks to drink more often.

“Water, whenever; milk, only with meals; juice, just once; and pop, only at parties,” Stone recited with the students as they discussed a new food pyramid she created centered only around drinks.

Stone went on to say that when the dental van started to make its rounds eight years ago, 7 in 10 children checked had cavities. Now, only 5 in 10 children seen have cavities. She said she hoped that in eight more years that number would be closer to zero.

Patula explained that this event was actually a pilot program with the school, and, if it is picked up by the corporation, could be spread nationwide. She added that this would be amazing for students across the country to be able to take away the same things that she hopes the second graders were taking away on Wednesday.

“I hope that they go away with a full belly, that they see McDonald’s in a different light, as not just hamburgers and French fries but that we care about our community,” she said. “I just hope that they come out with a good heart, a good sense of how to be a good person.”

Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.