Elementary students send cards, gift boxes to troops

Jan 16, 2013
Despite their small numbers, the 32 students at Stockton Springs Elementary School collected all these gifts to be forwarded to the troops through Operation Gratitude.

When elementary school students in Regional School Unit 20 were challenged by the 5210 program to save some of their Halloween candy to be sent to the troops overseas, the students at Stockton Springs Elementary School decided to go a step further.

They saved some of their Halloween candy, but they also decided they wanted to do more for the troops, especially since they expected their packages would arrive around Christmas.

Despite having only 32 students in the school, they collected toothpaste and toothbrushes, wet wipes, lip balm, deodorant, hand sanitizer, dental floss, notebooks, stuffed animals, yarn, socks, toaster pastries, granola bars, popcorn, body wash, combs and pencil bags.

The students also drew pictures and sent thank-you notes to the soldiers.

At a recent all-school assembly, RSU 20 5210 School Health Coordinator Linda Hartkopf told the students she was “blown away” by the all items the students gathered and the cards they wrote. “The troops are going to be extremely grateful,” she told the students.

The gifts were delivered in big boxes to Waldo County General Hospital, and the hospital forwarded them to Operation Gratitude in Encino, Calif. Operation Gratitude send the care packages to American troops overseas.

Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individual service members. Its mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to armed forces members the appreciation and support of the American people.

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