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Season of Wishes: Pleasant Acre hopes for a holiday travel boost

Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Pleasant Acre Day School director Mary Ann Foggo-Eidt dances Wednesday with students from the school. The school is hoping to receive enough donations to pay for an addition to its van that takes students on trips.
Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Pleasant Acre Day School director Mary Ann Foggo-Eidt dances Wednesday with students from the school. The school is hoping to receive enough donations to pay for an addition to its van that takes students on trips.

NATCHEZ — Students at Pleasant Acre Day School need a little help this holiday season to ensure safe travels next year.

Pleasant Acre is a day-treatment program for adult, trainable, mentally challenged students. The curriculum in place helps students acquire life skills and self-help skills through life-enrichment programs.

Director Mary Ann Foggo-Eidt said the school has been blessed by “angels” in the community that have helped make its day-to-day operation run as smoothly as possible.

“Even the people that help maintain the grass outside the building help us so much because that’s an expense we don’t’ have to take on,” she said. “We’ve been truly blessed.”

Foggo-Eidt said the school is hoping to receive enough monetary donations to help make taking the school’s students on trips much easier.

The students go bowling every Monday, out to eat once a month and take trips to Biloxi in the winter and summer. The students went this past weekend to see a Christmas show and eat out at a seafood restaurant.

Foggo-Eidt said the trips are becoming more difficult for the aging students with physical disabilities because the school’s 1997 15-passenger van does not have a lift or any type of assistance to help them in the van.

“I’m not sure we could afford a new van with that already installed, so we’re looking at some sort of system that would give the students a little boost to get in the van safely,” she said. “We don’t necessarily need a wheelchair lift because the ones we’ve seen have lifts that go into the van and take up room.

“In my head, I’m thinking something like some steps or a flat surface that rises and then tucks under the van.”

Foggo-Eidt said a similar system was once installed in the van, but it did not meet the needs of students and was dangerous on the road.

Foggo-Eidt estimates the installation of a lift to be approximately $5,000, which is what they’re hoping to raise this holiday season.

Students at the school help raise money to take the trips to Biloxi using a variety of fundraisers, such as the Beads Galore Shop where students repurpose old Mardi Gras beads and sell them at the school.

“They work so hard to raise money, so we try to reward them anytime we can,” she said. “We’re just so grateful to the community for all their help over the years.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the school can mail checks to P.O. Box 1362, Natchez, MS, 39121 or contact Foggo-Eidt at 601-442-2264.