Benefit bake sale on tap today

Middle school kids pitch in

Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2001

In the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United States, people all across this nation have rallied to offer help in whatever way they can. Adults can donate blood and support in a number of ways. Kids, however, who are too young to give blood, are left with a desire to be involved but no avenue to do so.

Recognizing this need, Lisa Tremaine, a parent and substitute teacher at Kenai Middle School, struck on an idea that would give kids a viable chance to help out: hold a bake sale.

Tremaine said the idea came from listening to a child psychologist on National Public Radio who said one way to get kids involved in the relief effort and to help them connect with the tragedy is to raise and donate money. So Tremaine started talking to kids and calling parents to organize the bake sale. It will take place today at 2 p.m. at the Big Kmart in Kenai. The kids will donate the money they make from the bake sale to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Tremaine, who used to live in New York, feels a personal connection to the terrorist attacks. But for others, especially kids as far away as Alaska, the tragedy is harder to get a grip on.

"The kids on the peninsula were very removed from what's going on over there," Tremaine said. "For a lot of the people here New York is very far away physically. It's like a movie, it's so unreal to watch these images. Some of these kids have the tools to understand it, some of them don't. But all of them have the desire to do something to help. And they can't give blood, so they give money."

Tremaine estimates about 15 kids are participating in the bake sale. Parents are involved as well, but the kids are doing most of the work. They are baking items for the sale, including lemon bars, cookies, brownies and cupcakes, making signs for the event and will be working the table today, selling food, taking money and talking to customers.

"Since we're not in New York City and we can't help out and we're kind of young to give blood, this is one thing we can do," said Copper Fuller, a Kenai Middle School Student. "Since it's a countrywide thing, we wanted to help out."

Besides raising money for the disaster relief fund, the goal of the bake sale is to give the kids an opportunity to talk about the attacks and to feel some connection to it by helping with the relief fund.

"It raises awareness for the kids because they need to think about it and talk about it and not be afraid, but just be aware that it's something serious," Tremaine said. "It's really cool, the kids are talking about it and listening to the radio, but I don't want them to get too saturated. I'm emotionally drained, and I think the kids are too, to a certain extent, but every once in a while there's a comment made and it sparks a discussion, which is great. Then we go on to something else."

According to Fuller, the tragedy has affected adults more than kids, but kids still feel affected by it. Getting together with their peers to support the relief effort is a way for them to deal with it.

"The first day was when we mainly talked about it," Fuller said. "Now someone will have an idea and we'll talk about it."

The bake sale will continue as long as the kids have food left to sell. They will also be taking donations.

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