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Kids Charity Club rakes in leaves and money in memory of a Stoneleigh Elementary bud

Nineteen sixth-graders took part in the Kids Charity Club’s first official event, raking leaves Nov. 21 in the Anneslie neighborhood.
Nineteen sixth-graders took part in the Kids Charity Club’s first official event, raking leaves Nov. 21 in the Anneslie neighborhood. (Kim DePanfilis)

Kind deeds deserve kind words, so here is a note of recognition to Lily DePanfilis. The young Anneslie resident recently launched her own “Kids Charity Club,” for herself and her friends to do good deeds and help raise funds for special causes.

The Kids Charity Club’s first official charity event was held on Saturday, Nov. 21, on Overbrook Road in Anneslie. Nineteen eager club members came, wearing masks and wielding their own rakes.

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They knocked on neighbors’ doors, keeping socially distanced, to see if residents would care to have some yard help. They let neighbors know that they would be available for leaf cleanup (and there were plenty of leaves to contend with, as the neighborhood has a wealth of trees!). The service was free, but it was expressed that donations to their selected charity would be appreciated.

The charity they were supporting that day was Andrew’s Laughing Gas — a cause near and dear to their hearts that honors the memory of their friend Andrew Mercier. Andrew’s Laughing Gas (andrewslaughinggas.org) is a nonprofit started by Towson residents Paul and Colleen Mercier in memory of their son, Andrew, who passed away one year ago this week, on Dec. 15, 2019, after battling leukemia.

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The thoughtful and hardworking young participants in the leaf-raking event were Lily DePanfilis, Luke DePanfilis, Robert Heavers, Ellen Heavers, Vincent Wu, David Rothwell, Grady Kimball, Emmett Kimball, Harrison Kahn, Simon Racicot, Catherine van Lierop, Robbie Roblin, Graham Higgs, Emmie Hults, Sophie Marcantonio, Lola Ledgerwood, Anne Harper Linkous, Anna Hudak and Lila Salter.

All are sixth-graders who were fortunate enough to be Andrew’s friends and classmates when he was a student at Stoneleigh Elementary. As a surprise, Paul and Colleen Mercier stopped by with Andrews Laughing Gas stickers for the kids.

Overbrook neighbor Marisa Sheingate tipped me off to news of the charitable raking shortly after it concluded. Sheingate had been particularly impressed with the kids’ motivation and manners, as well as their dedication to the spirit of their cherished friend.

Lily’s mom, Kim DePanfilis, says that the whole block was receptive to the event. “With the help of these kids and the extremely generous people that live in this unbelievable community, we were able to raise $700, with some donations still coming in. We are so grateful to be a part of this community and surrounded by such caring people.”

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Lily was pleased with the success of the Kids Charity Club’s first deed.

“I would like to start by thanking all of the kids who came out and gave their time for this great event,” she said. “I would also like to recognize my neighbors for their generous contributions. Andrew was always a nice and caring person, and I am very happy that we were able to give back in his memory.

“I look forward to future events and supporting Andrew’s Laughing Gas for years to come.”

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