Waunakee neighbors form ‘Helping Hands’ club to raise money for food pantry

A group of children are Making a Difference by raking yards and shoveling driveways.
Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 5:10 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 11, 2020 at 6:53 PM CST
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WAUNAKEE, Wis. (WMTV) - Lending a hand to rake a yard or shovel snow, a group of elementary students are eager to pitch in around their neighborhood.

Eloise and Mae Durst started the project over the summer as a way to fundraise and help people impacted by COVID-19.

The sisters started reaching out to their neighbors to see what work they could do in exchange for some extra cash.

“We earned the money,” said Eloise Durst. “We don’t just earn it from our parents. We earn it from everybody else for them being grateful for what we did.”

Soon, the pair started reaching out to other kids around their neighborhood to join them and they formed a group called ‘Helping Hands’.

“I will say, it’s a lot easier with more people helping,” said Mae Durst.

Their dad, Brian Durst, says the girls started the project all on their own and the neighborhood embraced their wanting to earn the money.

“We didn’t create this plan for them,” he said. “They decided they wanted to do this and hatched ‘Helping Hands’ all by themselves.”

Durst and other parents have agreed to match whatever the children earn as a way to broaden their impact.

3rd graders Ryan and Jack Coehn were eager to help out their neighbors.

“We’re not just helping out one house or two houses,” said Ryan Coehn. “We’re helping out the whole community.”

Earlier this week, the kids brought a $500 donation to the Waunakee Food pantry.

“It made me feel really good because we know we’re helping other people that don’t have any food at all,” said Fiona Tennent.

The group is planning to keep earning money and donating it to other non-profits impacted by the pandemic.

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