For the month of December, classrooms at Nathanael Greene Elementary School have been collecting donations for Capes 4 Courage, a local nonprofit that donates handmade capes to children at the Ronald McDonald House, Camp Holiday Trails and the UVA Medical Center Pediatric unit.
Janet Hefren, owner and founder of Capes 4 Courage Virginia, visited the school to collect the raised funds.
“For children who are injured or have an illness that they’re struggling with … even Superman and Wonder Woman need a cape to give them courage every once in awhile,” Hefren said.
Each cape is handmade by one of many volunteers with the organization and is custom made to suit the personality of the child. It is hoped that the fun accessories will give them courage for a long, happy and healthy life and help brighten their spirits while they are undergoing medical treatment or spending time in the hospital.
The school hoped to collect five hundred dollars by Dec.19, which would be enough to create 25 capes. As an added incentive, the school promised the students a visit from the Grinch if they met their fundraising goal.
On Friday, Dec. 20, the last school day before winter break, the final total was over $1,200. The Grinch appeared on the roof as students entered the building at the start of the day and made mischief in classrooms throughout the morning.
Several teachers and students stopped Hefren in the hallway to share personal stories about how the Capes 4 Courage program touched their lives and one even ran up with a last-minute donation of $5.
As Hefren thanked the students for their donations on the school’s morning announcements, the Grinch appeared to join in the celebration.
“I understand Mr. Grinch has difficulty being nice sometimes,” Hefren said. “So we’re going to give him a cape and maybe it’ll help his heart grow 100 times bigger. I am absolutely astonished as to the number of people who have donated and the amount, and we are easily going to be able to make about a hundred capes because of this. About a hundred children are going to have a lot of smiles when they’re not feeling as well as they would hope.”