HALLOWELL — Noah and Ava Katz, 10-year-old twins, have successfully gathered a mountain of art supplies for students in a Native American elementary school in Montana.

Their campaign began at the end of the school year at Hall-Dale Elementary School when their mother, Stacey Katz, an attorney, suggested they clean out their desks and shelves of all their remaining art supplies.

“At the end of school, we were cleaning out our art supplies, and Mom said why don’t we give them away, we have so much,” Noah said.

Coincidentally, about the same time, the twins’ father, University of Maine at Augusta art professor Robert Katz, received a letter from an old colleague, Maggie Carlson, who is teaching art at the Wyola School on the edge of the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana. Carlson wrote about her school being so short of money that she had to go through trash bins to collect paper and cardboard for student art projects and she had to spend her own money on art supplies for students.

Ava and Noah saw this as an opportunity to send their collection of supplies to someone who needed them, but they soon realized that their small box would not have much of an effect for the 89 children in pre-kindergarten through grade 6 at the school. So they spread the word around Hallowell about their project.

This was not an Internet-fueled campaign with thousands of “hits,” but rather an old-fashioned, community-oriented project that yielded impressive results. Ava and Noah had pink fliers printed asking for supplies such as paint, paint brushes, pencils and crayons and distributed them to Hallowell businesses.

Soon neighbors were leaving bags and boxes of art supplies such as beads and shells, pipe cleaners, yarn and pastels, glue sticks and colored paper on the Katzes’ doorstep.

Robert Katz emailed some of his artist friends from around the state and they sent packages of art materials from their studios. Art students from UMA donated materials. A lot of people sent notes along with their contributions, praising the children for carrying out a worthwhile project.

Lucky Garden restaurant donated a box of miniature umbrellas.

Some people didn’t contribute supplies but sent money to pay for shipping the art supplies to Montana. One room at the Katz household is heaped with the colorful materials and some boxes already are packed. Katz said he thinks the children will be sending about 10 large boxes of art supplies weighing more than 100 pounds to the Montana school.

He said the children might be shipping their gifts any day now.

“The kids are still trying to raise money for shipping,” he said.

“This just sort of mushroomed into a much larger project,” Katz said. “It’s been great for the kids because they’ve been able to give back to kids their own age.”

The family plans to surprise Carlson with the magnitude of what’s coming.

“We’re just going to tell Maggie that some art materials are on the way,” he said. “This is going to be a total surprise.”

Katz lived for a time in Montana. He said Wyola, the town where the school is located, is in the Bighorn Mountains, within a few miles of the site of Custer’s Last Stand on the Little Bighorn River.

Noah said of the project, “I’m really glad that people can use stuff that we collect for them. I’m just really glad that we were able to do this. This is a big accomplishment by us. It’s exciting when I see what one idea and one community can accomplish.”

Ava said, “I’ve just learned so much by doing this project. It taught me how much Maine people care about others. We really want to go to Montana sometime. We’re so excited about shipping out the boxes.”

Ava and Noah will be entering the fifth grade at Hall-Dale Elementary School this fall.

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