The spirit of giving is alive and well at Simmons Elementary School.
Members of the school's student senate began collecting food for needy families last week. This year's fundraiser, like every year, will help feed the families of Simmons students who may be in need this holiday season, said Abe Wieland, a fourth-grader and student senate member.
The way the fundraiser works is that each grade brings in a different type of nonperishable food item, which will fill boxes to be donated to families. For instance, the fifth grade is bringing rice, macaroni and pasta, and first grade is bringing cereal, said fifth-grader Grace Kramer. Other donated items included canned goods, crackers, packaged fruit and oatmeal, to name a few.
"The whole school is helping out," she added.
Students, Melissa Meidinger, the school's reading tutor, and Erin Zachow, the school's counselor, said they're hoping to be able to fill enough boxes for 25-30 families.
"Last year, we had 15 or so boxes," Meidinger said.
Teachers at Simmons also sponsor an angel tree, Zachow added.
"Students' names are given to me, and each receive a number," Zachow said. "The numbers are placed on the tree for the teacher to choose from. Then they go out get gifts for these students, and the gifts are placed in the boxes."
Students started collection items on Dec. 1, and will continue through Friday, depending if there are enough items to reach their goal.
"We may have to extend it out a little if we don't get enough," Zachow said.
Right now, Meidinger said the plans are to contact families who may be in need a week before Christmas, and inform them that they can pick up the boxes.
Student senate members said that they've enjoyed being involving in this project thus far. Fifth-grader Harley Hermansen said the best part of the project is being able to help others.
"It's important to be kind and help others," Meidinger said. "Students are learning that through this project."