The following article was written by Annabel Darst (pictured above), a 3rd grader at Cider Mill School.

Helping Hands hosted a Book Drive two weeks in late April, and received thousands of books that were sold in a giant book sale that was held during the Cider Mill Art Show! The proceeds from the sale went into the Cider Mill Helping Hands Wish Fund. The total was $514.25!

Cider Mill School’s Helping Hands decided to start a book drive to help teachers declutter their classroom libraries and we invited students to do so as well! A few of the Helping Hands members also noticed that in some places in surrounding communities, families and schools don’t have that many books. With this in mind, we started to plan the book drive. We had a book sale to raise money for our Wish Fund, and then we were able to donate thousands of books to charities around Connecticut that needed books!

My friend Piper and I went to meet with Dr. Jennifer Falcone (Cider Mill principal) and Ms. Lauren Catalano (assistant principal) to go propose the idea of the book sale. The two principals agreed that the idea would be a big help and agreed to let us start the project.

The first part of the project was making posters. We hung them up all around the school, so we could notify all the students and teachers to start weeding out their shelves of books. After the word was out, we put out boxes to collect all our books. After one week we had no more boxes left! When the book drive ended, we went and packed the books in the main gym.

On the night of the Art Show, nearly all of our Helping Hands members showed up ready to help! Some of the Helping Hands club members, like myself, served h’ors doeuvres while others helped with selling books in the cafeteria. We asked for any donation of money for our books. The generosity of the Cider Mill community helped us raise a total sum of $514.25!

What is Helping Hands? Helping Hands is an amazing club in our school! The goal of our club is to make Cider Mill the best school that it can be. We want students to enjoy their school experience here. Our Helping Hands advisors are Mrs. Tara Lappa and Mrs. Michelle Spera who help us do many projects to help our community.

What is The Cider Mill Wish Project? The Cider Mill Wish Project is another program Helping Hands runs. Every student will make a reasonable wish such as a free choice for their house and will put it an envelope. Every Friday, on a rotation, one house will get a wish for third grade, a wish for fourth grade, and a wish for fifth grade. Teachers even get wishes granted! All of our wishes that we have granted range from extra recess to free choice, time off to pizza lunches, playing the piano in front of the whole school, and even one lucky student got a ride in a police car.

Again, we hope that the Wish program will help our goal to make Cider Mill the best it can possibly be. The book drive money that we raised will certainly help us with our goal!