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The Lesson of Giving

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While official U.S. humanitarian aid to the former Soviet Union is still in the planning stages, a group of Connecticut high-school students has already collected 2,000 pounds of food and clothing to distribute to the needy there.

Over the past few months, 19 students from Staples High School in Westport, Conn., have collected the goods from area residents and will personally distribute them as representatives of "Youth Ending Hunger,"a national nonprofit organization that encourages young people to participate in social service for the disadvantaged.

These junior officers of goodwill will distribute coats and food to elderly pensioners and toys to mentally handicapped children. During their three-week stay this month, they will live with families in Moscow, attend Russian-language classes at English School No. 23, and take in such tourist attractions as the Moscow Circus. The students will also visit a school in St. Petersburg, where they plan to open another branch of the Youth Ending Hunger club.

Hector Guerra, the dean of students at Staples High and a coordinator of the trip, says he is delighted by the outpouring of generosity from the school and the community. AmeriCares, a national nonprofit relief service, lent a hand by arranging to ship the donated goods to Moscow. Mr. Guerra notes that half the food and clothing donated will remain stateside to aid those hardest hit by the recession.

"We are not going simply as tourists," says Mr. Guerra. "Our direct participation will teach the kids about giving--they see who gets the clothes, and realize first hand the needs of the people."--S.K.G.

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