Saginaw Township, MICHIGAN (WJRT) - (12/07/2018) - With the holiday season in full swing, many here in Mid Michigan look forward to family get togethers in the coming weeks.
But for those serving in the U.S. Military, the holidays can be a reminder of the distance that separates one from friends and family at this time of year.
A group of third graders at Hemmeter Elementary are making sure hose serving in our military are not forgotten.
A group of seven children, participating in an after-school program called "Destination Imagination" had to come with an idea for their Service Learning Challenge.
The project they chose to undertake is their way of saying "thank you" to our military for their service, especially at this time of year.
"I thought, well, maybe we could do something for them in return for doing so much for us," said Cole Wesley.
The third grader at Hemmeter Elementary and six of his classmates went to work--designing, creating and selling home-made ornaments, raising $1,100 in just over two weeks.
"If we never made them, and sell them, none of this would happen," Wesley said.
From Chex Mix to Chapstick, the money they raised allowed them to purchase snacks and goodies for these care packages.
They also paid for the postage to ship them to Hemmeter dad Steve Reaves who is a Navy Chief overseeing a crew serving aboard the U.S.S. Boxer in the Western Pacific.
"We want them to feel more at home for Christmas and the Holidays so we want to get it there by Christmas," said third grader Cadence Skutt.
The care packages also contain photos of the kids, and handwritten letters, like this one from Arayna Singh which reads, "Dear Heroes, thank you for your service, support, help, and take care.
This card from Cole reads: "Dear Heroes, we want to thank you for your service, it's quite kind of you to risk your life for the U.S.A."
The kids' Service Learning Challenge Coach Meha Parashar says the kdis came up the idea after attending a Veteran's assembly at their school.
"The big thing they are trying to learn out of it is how care and compassion can go a long long way," she said.
Any money left over to go towards additional care packages.
Friday night we spoke with Hemmeter dad Ted Bomba by phone.
He served two tours in Afghanistan and was not home for the holidays last year, Friday night he got to put up the Christmas tree with his daughters.
He got care packages from his daughter's third grade class last year.
We asked him what it meant to get the packages, he told us, "It helps keep you connected to home" and "It reminds you of who you are there for".