Meriden high school service club creates ‘community closet' in Giuffrida Park

Meriden high school service club creates ‘community closet' in Giuffrida Park

MERIDEN — The Maloney High School Leo Club and Meriden Lions Club have created a “community closet” featuring donated items in Giuffrida Park.

Kate Valentin, Leo Club advisor, said the project was almost entirely student-run.

The students “wanted to come up with a project that would carry out throughout the years,” Valentin said. “A community project that is kind of sustained.”

The community closet  features various donated items such as books, sunscreen, cleaning wipes and bandages. In the winter, it will have hats and gloves.

Meriden Lions Club member and Leo Club Co-Advisor Ed Haberli said the Leo Club was founded four years ago as a student version of the Meriden Lions Club.

”We support them financially with what they need to run their club but they are an independent club,” Haberli said.

Kim Vu, president of the Leo Club, said the students applied for a $250 Youth Service Mini-Grant from the Meriden Department of Health and Human services to complete the project.

“It’s a wonderful feeling that at such a young age you can give back to the community,” Vu said. “It’s great that community members can (participate) by donating.” 

Vu, 17, said she built the closet with the help of Thomas Gordon, a woodworking teacher, and members of the Leo Club.  

Valentin said many of the items were donated or bought by Leo Club members.

She said many of the items placed in the closet are already gone, which means the closet is being used.

”Leo stands for leadership experience opportunity,” Haberli said. “Students grow in understanding of leadership in the community.”

Twitter: @JenieceRoman

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