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Christmas in July

DMES student collects school supplies to help classmates

Posted: July 21, 2011 3:19 p.m.
Updated: July 22, 2011 5:00 a.m.

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Thomas Churchwell has one goal this summer, to make sure 10 of his classmates at Doby’s Mill Elementary School (DMES) have all the supplies they need to start the school year.

Thomas is the grandson of Paul and Sarah Towns of Elgin, who have a 13-year tradition of holding the “Towns Family Christmas” at their home on Charlie Horse Circle. Each year all the proceeds from the Christmas lights are donated to Camp Chemo.

Thomas said he was inspired by his grandfather to help others and when he learned about his classmates needing help, he didn’t hesitate to ask his “Papa” to give him a hand.

The 8-year-old rising third grader said he understands some families are struggling and he wants to do all he can to help.
“Some kids just don’t have the money to pay for everything they need right now,” Thomas said. “This is my first time building bird houses or doing anything like this, but I’ve had a lot of help from my mama and my papa.”

From July 29 to 31, Thomas is inviting the public to visit his grandfather’s collection of trains, tractors and other toys at 2433 Charlie Horse Circle in Elgin. The exhibits will be open each evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Thomas asks that each car load donate $5 or $5 worth of school supplies. He will also be selling nine hand-made bird houses. The bird houses can be bought for $15 or a donation of a bookbag.

For directions, visit or call Towns at 408-0131.

School supplies needed include: 10-pack of wooden pencils, 24-count crayola crayons, blunt end scissors, large dry erase markers, plastic folder with three prongs, a zipper style storage bag, 4-ounce school glue or glue sticks, erasers, zipper pencil pouch for three ring binders, wide rule loose leaf paper, ruler with inches and centimeters, 2- or 3-inch three ring binders, highlighters, index cards, section dividers, book bags and lunch boxes.

While the lights won’t be up, Thomas said his grandfather will be offering hayrides. It will also be the first showing of a new exhibit, the Blacksmith Shop.

“I’ve been here every Christmas to help out and it gives you a good feeling,” Thomas said. “I hope we raise enough supplies to help out more than just 10 kids.”


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