Over 80 students in kindergarten through fifth grade collectively volunteered over 2,000 hours this year in the Harriet Bishop Elementary Service Club, club organizers said this week.

Club members were honored during an awards ceremony on May 29. Savage Mayor Janet Williams, Police Chief Rodney Seurer and Fire Chief Andrain Roach congratulated and thanked each student alongside Harriet Bishop Principal Ken Essay.

Shrey Pothini, now finishing freshman year at Burnsville High School, founded the club when he was an elementary schooler at Harriet Bishop. Eventually, he led the expansion of Service Club to the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District's nine other elementary schools.

"Service Club had one of its most successful years ever," Shrey said to club members during the award ceremony. "It's really, really, really amazing what you're all able to do."

This year, 36 students, some in kindergarten, were presented a Presidential Volunteer Award for volunteering over 26 hours.

Meena Pothini, Shrey's younger sister and the club's leader this year, said it's hard to choose a favorite project, but Service Day Saturday is her favorite memory from the year because all ages came together around giving back.

"I did love all the projects," she said. "I think I like them all because I knew I was helping others, and that makes me feel good."

Here are some of Service Club's 2018-2019 accomplishments by the numbers include:

  • 1,700 pounds of food collected for We Scare Hunger to benefit a local food shelf
  • $1,250 raised for clean water initiatives or to purchase goats for sustainable living
  • More than 1,200 participants in Savage's Service Day Saturday
  • 650 bath towels collected for local homeless youth shelters
  • 550 messages of encouragement place around the school on Post-It notes
  • 510 children's books collected for students in need
  • 480 pieces of education supplies donated to local youth
  • 400 pounds of bulk rice repacked and donated to a food shelf
  • 300 bracelet kits assembled for children staying in hospitals
  • 260 single-load laundry soap containers filled for a local homeless shelter
  • 210 lunch bags decorated and given to Meals on Wheels recipients
  • 174 fleece blankets or chew toys made for a local nonprofit animal rescue
  • 170 cards made for a local hospital to distribute on Valentine's Day
  • 160 bookmarks created for a book drive benefiting local youth in need
  • 125 letters of appreciation written to members of the U.S. military overseas
  • 82 students trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver by the Savage Fire Department
  • 36 students earned a Presidential Volunteer Award
  • 31 students and adults donated 8-12 inches of hair for wigs
  • 25 students took a vow of silence to education others about children's rights violations
  • 4 large tote bags full of pop tabs donated to Ronald McDonald House Twin Cities.

Christine Schuster is a reporter for the Savage Pacer.

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