Pinellas kids’ ‘game of real life’ grows into way to help needy
Two years ago, four children were presented with a shopping cart of flat cardboard and told to make a home. Confused, the kids built a cramped and sagging windowless shack. Their teacher and godmother, Joyce McCain, berated them.
“I said, ‘Out of here! You’re wasting my time! This looks horrible!’ ” she said, a smirk creeping across her face. “That was challenge No. 1.”
The children called it “the game of real life.” But the game wasn’t over. They split a lunch of three slices of bread, an apple and a banana. Then they were given $30 and told to fill a duffel bag with toiletries and underwear. They ended the game Thanksgiving night at the homeless complex called Pinellas Hope.
They cooked food and carried trays. They learned to mop. And they gave out their bags.
“One lady, I can’t forget her face. She was, like, so grateful. She was crying,” said Clare Guthrie, 13. “It was just really nice to feel that way.”
The game became a giveaway. Then a baby shower. Then a book drive. What began as four duped and hungry kids grossed out by mop water rolex watches spread across dozens of students at Clearwater’s Gua rolex watches rdian Angels Catholic School, all of whom said they wanted to help.
But it wasn’t easy. Some mentioned boredom; others, fear. All those rough looking people, unwashed in tattered jeans, were far from their streets and subdivisions.
“They don’t have a home. They don’t have a wallet,” said Joshua Uscategui, 7, who warmed to the idea when he got to announce dinner time over a megaphone. “They don’t have anything except for tents.”
About 70 of the school’s children and families now dish out spaghetti, salad and bread monthly. Between servings, they raise money by selling pencils, and gather books for a planned tent city library.
“It was kind of like a news flash for us when we saw what life could be like,” said Ashley Mauch, 12. “No matter how many times we go to see them, I don’t think we rolex watches could ever really know what it’s like. ”
The students say the game of real life has taught them something special. “No matter how strong you are, everybody needs a little push,” Guthrie said. “If you work rolex watches hard, they’ll work hard, too.”