Several area residents and organizations were recognized by Congressman John Kline this week for their acts of kindness.
Four local individuals and 16 organizations received the Congressional Certificates of Special Recognition on March 11 at the seventh annual Star of the North ceremony at Kenwood Middle School in Lakeville.
More than 400 people attended the ceremony.
Eagan resident Erin Harmon, a fifth-grade teacher at Paideia Academy in Apple Valley, received the award for donating her kidney her cousin Nathan. Nathan has suffered from congenital kidney issues since infancy and no longer undergoes dialysis thanks to his new kidney.
Volunteers at the Farmington Rambling River Center were recognized for making lap blankets for veterans and nursing home residents. The group spends an entire day completing their work, and last year made 98 lap robes and 18 heart pillows.
Farmington’s Yellow Ribbon Network was recognized for its annual Cookie Walk fundraiser, which has become a holiday tradition.
The event helps local families with deployed loved ones by contributing two plates of cookies: one plate for a care package to a military family, and one for participants to mix and exchange.
North Trail Elementary School in Farmington received the award for donating more than 400 toys for the Toys for Town drive, and more than 1,600 food items to the Farmington Food Shelf. The third grade brought in the most food items at 376. The school typically holds four food drives over the course of a year.
Farmington’s Dodge Middle School student council was recognized for its efforts to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The school held a penny war between classes, and the object was to bring in more cash and silver coins than there are pennies. After four days of collecting change, the school raised $1,925 for lymphoma research.
Lakeville Cub Scout Pack 260 were recognized for constructing hand-made greeting cards that contained encouraging notes, which were sent to patients at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis.
Lakeville resident Sofia Shabaz, 10, received the award for collecting money for Children’s Cup, which assists orphaned children in Swaziland, Africa. Shabaz has raised money every year for the organization for the past three years by setting up a hot cocoa sand. She learned about Swaziland after a family from her church moved there on a mission trip.
Shabaz sold her homemade cocoa out of her garage the first year but moved her stand to area warming houses where she sells it to skaters and visitors.
The Rosemount-Apple-Valley-Eagan School District 196 transportation department was recognized for holding a food drive and chili cookout last October to raise money for the Lewis House, a shelter for women and children suffering from domestic violence.
The drive collected thousands of pounds of food and $240 in cash for the shelter.
District 196 employees were recognized for participating in the United Way’s The Power of We campaign in November. More than $43,000 was pledged. Additionally, a hygiene drive was conducted at each district site, and a bus full of supplies was donated to the Rosemount Neighborhood Family Resource Center.
Rosemount Elementary School was recognized for its Give to the Max campaign. More than $5,200 was generated thanks donations from the Rosemount community and First State Bank of Rosemount.
A new literacy initiative has been implemented at Rosemount Elementary and throughout District 196 to help provide personalized reading instruction for all children. Students use a variety of strategies and actions to process printed text, allowing teachers to focus on the areas where each child needs specific help to get to the next level of comprehension and fluency.
One Rosemount Feeding Families were also recognized by Congressman Kline and is a group of Rosemount residents that work to eliminate worldwide hunger. More than 1,200 volunteers attended a March event where more than 285,000 meals were packaged and sent to Haiti refugees in the Dominican Republic. About 3,000 pounds of food were also collected and distributed to area food shelves.
At the event, Kline also recognized several individuals and organizations from Hastings, Mendota Heights, St. Paul Park and South St. Paul.