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home : community : community June 25, 2019

5/20/2019 12:11:00 AM
ELHS Hands Of Hope Helps Ronald McDonald House
Generous students involved in worthy cause
At the Ronald McDonald House, ELHS teacher Cassie McLeod (far left) is joined by sisters Peyton and Taylor Crates and fellow student Hailey Buchanan.
(Photos Courtesy Nancy Crates)

At the Ronald McDonald House,
ELHS teacher Cassie McLeod (far left)
is joined by sisters Peyton and
Taylor Crates and fellow
student Hailey Buchanan.

(Photos Courtesy Nancy Crates)

MacLeod (on the far left) is joined here by East Lincoln High School students Morgan Edwards, Taylor and Peyton Crates, Elle Meyers and Hannah McGuirk.

MacLeod (on the far left) is
joined here by East Lincoln
High School students Morgan
Edwards, Taylor and Peyton Crates,
Elle Meyers and Hannah McGuirk.


Thomas Lark
Staff Writer


DENVER, N.C.––Their hearts are full of love, and their hands, full of hope.

They’re the members of the East Lincoln High School Hands of Hope group. And according to Nancy Crates, those involved are making a real difference with the Ronald McDonald House.

Sisters Taylor and Peyton Crates are much involved in Hands of Hope. The former founded the group and serves as its president. She is slated to be East Lincoln’s valedictorian for the class of 2019 (see related coverage, only here in The Herald). Mrs. Crates is their proud mom.

“As you may know,” she said Thursday, “the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte is a not-for-profit organization that provides a place to stay for the families of sick children receiving treatment at the Levine Children’s Hospital. Last year, Taylor was looking for an opportunity to serve in the community in a meaningful way. She began to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald of House. 

“When Taylor was a child,” she added, “her sister, Peyton (a current sophomore at East Lincoln), was born with a congenital heart defect: an atrioventricular canal defect (a hole between the heart’s chambers and trouble with the valves regulating blood flow, thus causing multiple problems). Through the course of her surgeries and hospital stays, Taylor and our family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic. Taylor can still remember the kindness of the volunteers that she met while staying there. This has had a lasting impact on her and our entire family. We have always looked for ways to give back.”

So after talking with staffers of the Charlotte-based Ronald McDonald House, Miss Crates discovered there was a continuous need for volunteers.



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“This is when she had the idea to see if East Lincoln would be willing to start a club to serve at the RMH,” her mother continued. “She suggested the idea to Principal Marybeth Avery, who thought it was a great idea and told Taylor to find a teacher to head the club. This is the part of the story that shows this club was meant to be: Taylor met East Lincoln High School teacher Cassie MacLeod. Cassie told Taylor she would love to run the student organization, because she already volunteered on a regular basis at the Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte!”

Soon, MacLeod and Miss Crates came up with the name “Hands of Hope” for the student organization. And after some fundraising to pay for food ingredients and supplies, the club was up and running.

“This club has been embraced by the faculty and students at East Lincoln and has even branched out to students volunteering from other schools,” Mrs. Crates informed. “The club has been serving monthly at the Ronald McDonald House in several ways. They make cookies at the house one Sunday every month. They bake them fresh at the house and serve them to guests and package them for guests to eat later. In addition to the cookie-baking, they have also added making complete breakfasts at the house once a month. On the first Sunday of the month, they make a full homemade breakfast and serve it to the guests staying at the house.  

“This has been such a rewarding experience for these teens,” she added. “Through interactions at the RMH, they have learned a lot about serving others and have showed such compassion for the children and families living daily with severe medical conditions. Although Taylor is a senior, she is positive that this club will continue in the future, as so many students and parents have become committed to it. It is wonderful to see these teens representing Lincoln County in such a positive way!”


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Related Stories:
• Taylor Crates On Track To Be ELHS Valedictorian


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