Along with reading and writing, math and science, the students in Sheryl Frye’s fifth-grade class at Holly Hills Elementary have been learning a lot about service to country and service to others. This particular line of inquiry first came up after the school’s Veterans Week assembly in November.
“One of the students asked ‘What else can we do?’” Frye said.
So she began researching ways her students could support veterans and active duty servicemen and women. She came across an organization called Soldiers’ Angels, which provides a variety of programs to help veterans, injured soldiers, current military members and their families. One of those programs provides holiday stockings filled with donated items to veterans who are being treated in Veterans Administration hospitals and troops that are deployed overseas. Frye said her students jumped at the chance to participate in the program.
“It involved making 100 cards, which is four cards per kid, and they just put their heart and soul into them,” Frye said. “You could hear the students saying things like “I really want this card to cheer them up.’”
The students also had to collect a variety of fun, festive and tasty items to put in the stockings… things like card games and stress balls, gloves and socks and non-perishable food items including holiday candy, single serving cookie packages and packets of instant hot chocolate and apple cider.
This was a big task, given that many Holly Hills students come from families of modest means. But thanks to the generosity of Holly Hills students, staff, families and community members, the class ended up with enough goodies to fill 100 stockings.
“They packed the stockings with such care and were meticulous about whether an even amount of items went into each stocking,” Frye said. “They wondered if this would brighten a soldier’s day. It just brought the students so much joy to do this. It broadened their awareness of people beyond their own community.”
The stockings are now on their way to veterans and servicemen and women, just in time for the holidays.