FILLED WITH a desire to help service members in the Persian Gulf war, almost 100 Randallstown High School students are volunteering their time in one of two groups that have combined to earn and donate money to support groups for soldiers and their families.
SOS, Support Our Soldiers, has about 50 members and was formed by Jessica Crouse, president, and Jennifer Feldman, vice president, both 17. "We just wanted to do something, so we bought yellow ribbons and put 1,000 of them on cars. But that wasn't enough, and we wanted to do more so we made a plan to make money and send it to local support groups like the non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross or United Way or JTC any smaller groups," says Crouse.
They were joined by DSCO, Desert Storm Communications Operations, which has about 40 members who write letters to service members overseas. Formed by president Pamela Neese, 19, and two vice presidents, Iris Jacobs and Don Cameron, "We get names of service members from local churches and wherever we can. Anyone who wants to send us a service member's name so we can correspond with him can send the name to DSCO, in care of the high school," says Neese.
Both groups are involved with sales of items to raise money and are hoping to receive donations from anyone willing to help them. "We are selling the smaller items such as flags, ribbons, key chains and bumper stickers and will use some of the profits to buy larger items such as T-Shirts and wearing apparel. Each will have some imprint that says help our soldiers. All of the profits will go to support groups for soldiers," says Crouse.
"We hope to put some money away for emergency relief for soldiers' families," says Neese.
Some donations have been received, according to Crouse, including one from "Rev. Dr. George Gray Toole at my church, the Towson Presbyterian.
"Also the owner of the Valley Center Plaza on Reisterstown Road heard about us and has offered to give us a store rent free. It is empty right now, and we can have it for three months and sell items there. We are hoping to begin in March."
However, there are some questions to be answered before the store opens, according to Morton Greenberg, the Randallstown High School principal. He is hesitant to talk about a store opening. "I have concern about who will be with the students during the store hours, which they are hoping will be from 9 in the morning to about 9 in the evening. We must come up with someone to be with them at that time, a means of safety for them during store hours," he says. "Whatever we do, this is a dedicated and serious group."
In the meantime, to buy items, to donate or for information on the store opening, contact Randallstown High School, 4000 Offutt Road, Randallstown 21133 or call 887-0748.
An operator will refer you to SOS or DSCO. Jessica Crouse works in the office between 8:45 a.m. and 9:35 a.m. weekdays and can be reached at that time. Greenberg says that although he is not always available, he will gladly take calls about the groups when possible.