‘The purest form of love’

Hanceville Elementary class donates hygiene goods to Victoria's Hope

Victoria’s Hope Founder April German thanks the fourth graders from Hanceville Elementary School who collected and donated four baskets of personal hygiene items. (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Since 2018, Victoria’s Hope has served low-income families and disaster victims of Cullman County by offering assistance with clothing and household goods and necessities. A year later, Founder April German opened a full thrift store – Victoria’s Hope Thrift and Treasures- as a way to raise even more money for families and local charities, and community support is still going strong. Thursday afternoon, German traveled to Hanceville Elementary School to receive a gift from teacher Tonya Hamilton’s fourth-grade class: four baskets of personal hygiene donations.

Hamilton said the class started collecting donations at the beginning of the school year.

“I started out the year planning on my classroom theme being kindness, and that’s what we’ve been concentrating on,” she said. “We thought of a way that my kids could give back to the community – just give back, period – because that’s one thing that’s important to me to teach them. So I called April and decided that this could be a way my kids give back – little things like a bar of soap or even a 99-cent tube of Chapstick that they can give back and learn the meaning of needing things and being kind to people.”

Hamilton said her students took her message to heart and brought items nearly every day.

When German addressed the students during the donation presentation, she was overwhelmed by the kindness the students had shown.

“I’ve never seen another class do anything like this,” she told them. “Things that we take for granted, like toothpaste and soap, some people don’t have them. But thanks to you guys, you’re gonna make their day! You are going to be the ones who help make them happy! You have no idea how happy this makes me, and you should be so proud of yourselves.”

Her words were met with cheers and applause from the students, especially after she asked them how it felt to help other people.

In a separate interview, German said she hoped the donation project helped the kids learn that there are people in the world, even in the community, who are much less fortunate than they are, saying, “You know, we’re put on this Earth to help others. That’s what it’s all about. We all should have hearts like children, because they’re just the purest form of love you can find.”

While she did not make an exact count, Hamilton estimated 10-15 bottles of body soap, 20 tubes of toothpaste, 15 bars of solid soap, 20 toothbrushes, and 10-15 sticks of deodorant, as well as other items like hand sanitizer, Chapstick, shampoo and hair brushes were donated. She said the class plans to keep collecting donations.

German said she hopes this class will inspire other schools around the county to do the same.

Victoria’s Hope is currently in need of men’s clothes, especially pants and T-shirts, as well as sanitary products and toiletries. As it gets closer to Christmas, Victoria’s Hope will offer discounts for shoppers who bring in new or slightly-used toys.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/victoriashope1952. Victoria’s Hope Thrift and Treasures is located at 1430 Fourth St. SW in Cullman. Contact Victoria’s Hope at 256-385-0917.

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Heather Mann