Norfolk Catholic students want cancer patients going through chemotherapy to know they’re praying for them.

That’s why Natalie Pfeifer’s preschool class and Staci Anderson’s third-grade class came up with Prayer Care Package. It’s one of the projects that won the kindergarten through fourth-grade division in this year’s Youth Philanthropy Contest sponsored by the Philanthropy Council of Northeast Nebraska.

Students will provide care packages for patients starting chemotherapy at Faith Regional Health Services’ Carson Cancer Center.

The packages will include items such as a water bottle, hard candies, lotion and lip balm to help ease physical ailments chemo may cause.

Also included will be a word puzzle to keep their minds distracted during treatment and a student-designed prayer card and a student-made rosary to provide spiritual encouragement.

“In our school alone, we’ve had five teachers diagnosed with cancer and we want to let others know we are thinking about them and praying for them,” Anderson said. “We think this is a great project because they’ll know we are stilling caring and praying for them. We think the philanthropy contest is awesome and we are so excited.”

The goal is to make 72 kits.

The other project winning in the K-4 division is Fernando’s Closet.

The project was submitted by Taryn Tjaden Dominiack, a fourth-grade student at Jefferson Elementary who was inspired by her grandparents’ foster son, Fernando.

She said that when Fernando arrived at her grandparents’ home, he didn’t own much and they only receive $250 a year to buy him clothes.

Given that, Taryn wanted Fernando’s Closet to help foster kids get clothes or other necessities they may need. She’s asking kids to clean out their closets to find extra clothes or clothes they’ve outgrown that they can donate to Fernando’s Closet. A large box will be provided at each school for donations.

“I like that this contest gives our community an opportunity to learn how to help others,” Taryn said.

Taryn said in the future she would like to start giving away toys and athletic equipment, such as soccer or wrestling shoes and baseball or softball gloves, especially because Fernando became heavily involved in activities as he grew older.

She’d even be interested in helping foster kids who have aged out of foster care find furnishings for their first apartments.

Mercy Meals has allowed Taryn to use its back room for free to organize her store.

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