DENHAM SPRINGS — Fourth- and fifth-grade students who participate in 4-H Club activities at Lewis Vincent Elementary added more than 100 hats to the thousands already collected over the past several years through the Zach’s Lidz for Kidz project, which donates the hats to kids with cancer.
The hats were accepted by Sandy Morgan, the mother of Zach Morgan, who started the movement several years ago, in brief ceremonies at the school March 3. She thanked the students and commended them for the their interest in Zach’s Lidz for Kidz.
Janet Baynard, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher and faculty leader for the school’s 4-H Club, said that her students decided on their own to support the hat project once they learned about the potential good that the hats do for cancer patients.
“These kids are remarkable. … We do a public service project every month, and they choose what it is they want to do. Once they chose Lidz for Kidz for their monthly project, they went to work and you can see what they have accomplished,” said Baynard, pointing to three boxes full of the popular “lidz” commonly referred to as baseball caps.
The caps were collected from many people and the logos on them reflected a wide range of interests, with most of them being related to popular sports teams.
Lewis Vincent Elementary Principal Lynette Wheat added her share of praise for her young charges. “We are extremely proud of our 4-H Club, and I am always impressed and amazed with the public service projects they are willing to undertake. Their participation in the Lidz for Kidz is just the latest example of their willingness to serve others,” Wheat said.
Bayard explained that over the past year, the 34 members of the 4-H Club have gathered blankets for the needy; collected hats and socks for senior citizens whom they visited in nursing homes and sang carols for at Christmas; sponsored a Blue Day when they served doughnuts to about 100 police officers; and collected pet food for an animal shelter.
About the Blue Day, Bayard said the students brought so many doughnuts to the event that the officers brought many of them back to their stations to share with fellow officers who could not come to the school.
Club members are now planning a project to clean and spruce up their school and the playgrounds.
Discussing the donation of hats, Morgan told the students that while a hat may seem like a small thing, “sick kids are glad to get anything.
“They relate to hats, especially to ones with their favorite teams or athletes on them,” Morgan said. “I know that the kids who get the hats that you gathered will be most grateful. This is one more way that you have shown that you can accomplish something that makes a difference … that makes someone else’s life happier.”
Morgan said her son Zach, a student at North Live Oak Elementary, had planned to accept the hats in person but decided that he needed to be in school on the day of the presentation. She said Zach began the project in 2013 when he learned about the possibility of participating in the Friends for Change Grant program. His interest in collecting hats for cancer patients came when he learned about the work being done at St. Jude’s hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and at other hospitals serving children with cancer.
Since starting Zach’s Lidz for Kidz, he has collected more than 4,000 caps, which have been sent all over the United States to hospitals and children’s clinics. Morgan said that a shipment of caps were being sent to Ohio on the same day she visited Lewis Vincent Elementary.
In addition to the hats, Lidz for Kidz also donates toys and other items to young cancer patients. Morgan said Easter goodies are prepared for the sick children with the hats serving as Easter baskets.
Morgan said that her son takes an active part in his determination to serve sick children. She said he visits young cancer patients when given the opportunity and participates in a week-long camp for ill children.
For his efforts in the project, Zach was awarded the 2013 Hasbro Community Action Hero Award from toy company.
“I think that Zach’s involvement has made an impact. We know that the gift of hats has helped brighten up a day for children who are sick and look forward to gifts no matter how small. I am convinced that children have big hearts and that they want to help others. Once they have been shown how they can make a difference for the better in this world, they will jump at the opportunity,” Morgan said.
Looking to the future, she said she is sure the movement will continue to grow and more young people who are hurting will be helped in getting through the ordeals that have brought pain to their young lives.
“What makes this so special is young people helping other young people. … It makes all of their lives better for the effort” Morgan said.