NORTH ROYALTON, OHIO (WOIO) - Valley Vista Elementary School students were hard at work on Wednesday, packing 1,000 pounds of donated items for military troops overseas.
"This is just a way to say thank you," said fourth grader Christopher Johnson.
Over a matter of weeks, the school, with 415 students, brought in a half ton of canned food, toiletries, snacks, and more.
Helena Johnson is part of the PTA and helped organize the drive.
"We started with a small little project, and our kids took it to the next level," said Christopher.
Each package is filled and finished off with handmade cards from the students.
"I wrote, 'Thank you for serving. It means a lot to everyone,'" said Kaitlin Uzl, a fourth grader.
The packages also include "paper hugs," based off the children's book A Paper Hug by Stephanie Skolmoski. In the story, a little boy makes a paper hug by tracing his hands and cutting a piece of string the size of his wing span. Then he gives the paper hug to his father, who has been deployed.
Walter Ohler is the North Royalton Veterans Liaison who will help get the supplies to troops in Iraq. He says military commanders have told him the cards mean more than the students may ever know.
"These packages are a huge morale booster. They carry them on their backpacks wherever they go," Ohler explained.
Valley Vista makes it a point to support the military every year with service, although this project far exceeded anyone's expectations. It's clear the students have learned a true lesson of giving.
"It's really nice that we're helping our troops that are helping and are saving us," said Christopher.
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