In a season when kids are thinking about getting, youngsters at Mt. Peak Elementary School are giving.
Students at Mt. Peak have developed a relationship with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, writing and receiving letters from soldiers in the field. But this Christmas they pulled out all the stops as they launched "Camo Christmas" to send those servicemen a big box of goodies.
"We've got three soldiers that we have been corresponding with and we have sort of adopted them," said Mrs. Nancy Beard, a first grade teacher at Mt. Peak. "Our kids have been collecting items to send to them for a couple of weeks."
Items from Mt. Peak bound for Iraq include socks, beef jerky, batteries, plastic water bottles (with the Midlothian Panther logo on them) footballs, hand wipes, lip balm, soap and an autographed 2007 Midlothian football program.
"We had a list of item but we also got our class to think of things they might need," said Beard. "The class really got into this."
And the project spread, first to all first grade classes on the hall and ultimately to all the classes at the school.
"Our soldiers were Tommy Wallace, Rob Altman and Rob Sanchez," said Beard. "Each one of these soldiers has a connection to someone in our class and so it was a little more personal."
And Beard was quick to say she couldn't take all the credit for Camo Christmas.
"Kerri Naizer and Lori Buford played a key role in coordinating this and working with this project as it grew," said Beard. "The kids really got excited about this and put their heart into it. I was very pleased to see them focus on giving to others rather than just thinking about themselves at Christmas."
Beard said the last day before the Christmas break saw kids show up dressed in camouflage, go on a Camo Christmas scavenger hunt, get dog tags and even eat U.S. Army issue MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).
"We've developed a special bond with those soldiers," Beard explained. "This was just our way of making Christmas a little easier for them this year while they are so far away from home."
The items and letters were carefully packed, boxed and shipped to Iraq by regular mail last week.
Students will continue to write letters and correspond to soldiers overseas. Anyone wanting to make a donation to pay for postage can call Mt. Peak Elementary School at 972-775-2881.