BMS student’s donation will benefit classmates

HOOVER – Nich Carlisle has taken it upon himself to recognize veterans and look out for classmates in need—though he is not even old enough to drive a car.

Berry Middle School eighth grade student Nich Carlisle donated about $3,100 to the school’s Hope Chest through the Wreaths Across America program. (CONTRIBUTED)

Carlisle, a 13-year-old Berry Middle School student, recently donated about $3,100 to the school’s Hope Chest, from funds collected through his effort with Wreaths Across America.

The Berry Hope Chest is a donation-only account used to meet immediate needs of students and their families, BMS Principal Chris Robbins said.

“We have families that every so often come to us and say, ‘We don’t have food’ or ‘We don’t have shelter,’” Robbins said. “Or we notice a need—maybe a student needs eyeglasses or shoes. “The funds raised by this student will go a long way to meet the needs of kids and their families in the Berry family.”

The school takes private donations throughout the school year, and makes a push for gifts around the holidays.

The amount donated by Carlisle, an eighth grader, is greater than what is usually withdrawn from the fund in a calendar year, Robbins said.

Wreaths Across America is an organization that facilitates ceremonial placing of wreaths on graves of veterans.

Carlisle sponsors the Jefferson Memorial Gardens cemetery, where 540 veterans are buried.

He sells wreaths for $15 each, and for each $15 purchase, $5 comes back to Carlisle for him to donate to the charity of his choosing.

During his most recent effort, Carlisle exceeded his goal and sold 627 wreaths.

Carlisle’s parents, Crissy and Mark, help with Wreaths Across America by sending out emails to friends and soliciting donations on social media.

The first couple of years Carlisle participated in Wreaths Across America, he donated to the People to People Student Ambassador Program and took trips to Europe, Australia and Japan.

This year, Carlisle said he wanted to do something to help classmates.

“I saw the Hope Chest as a way to better my school and my community,” he said.

The wreaths will be shipped to Jefferson Memorial Gardens prior to a ceremony on Dec. 16.

On the day of the ceremony, Carlisle will arrive early and offer any needed help.

“I’m always so proud when students step up and show initiative in their community,” Robbins said. “Many others will reap the benefit of his work.”