Sending Holiday Joy All Over the Globe

December 14, 2021


High school students helping with Shoeboxes for Soldiers in 2020. Pictured from left to right: Mitch Van Cleave, Brooke Haley, Molly Bennett, Alivia Kimbriel, Dory Baker, Brooklyn Luna, Abigail Gilmartin.

Every year, the Fair Grove Elementary participates in Shoebox for Soldiers around the holidays to send Christmas packages to military members all over the world.

Shoeboxes for Soldiers is an organization that helps many soldiers to feel some joy during the holiday season. Fair Grove Elementary is one of the many elementary schools in the area that participate in Shoeboxes for Soldiers.

Elementary teacher Whitney Hyde has recently become in charge of running Fair Grove Elementary’s Shoeboxes for Soldiers drive.

Fair Grove has been participating in this drive for years. Hyde remembered, “This project has been around in the elementary for several years. It started as a 2nd grade service project and then 4th grade took it over. After that, Mrs. Strader was the coordinator. Mrs. Strader retired and I volunteered to coordinate.”

The teachers make sure the project is also a learning opportunity by incorporating it into their everyday learning. Hyde said, “Teachers incorporate the project into their social studies lessons about communities. Classrooms often write letters to put in the boxes and letter writing is used as a writing unit.”

Participating in Shoeboxes for Soldiers helps kids with learn more skills than just history and writing though. Hyde shared, “It helps the students learn about helping others, the military and allows them to be a part of something that takes place all over the United States.”

Many soldiers are deployed during the holidays, away from all of their family. These kids get to help bring some joy into their lives. Hyde recalled, “In years past the school/classrooms have received ‘Thank you’ notes and emails from soldiers that received a box from Fair Grove Elementary. The students have a sense of pride knowing that they helped a soldier have a brighter day!” Filling these boxes and sending them overseas not only gives the soldier’s joy, but also the students. Hyde noticed that her students loved assembling the boxes.

It is even rewarding for the teachers to see how much the kids enjoy participating in Shoebox for Soldiers. Hyde recalled, “My favorite part is how excited the students get to help out the soldiers. They get excited to write letters and help pack the boxes.”

This year, Fair Grove’s Camo Day raised $372.22 to go towards shipping costs of the boxes. 27 boxes were filled, along with extra supplies that will fill many more boxes. The boxes were filled with healthcare items, snacks, and even more supplies to spread holiday joy with Shoeboxes for Soldiers.

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