For the last two years, St. Mary’s fourth-graders have been taking on a special project. They have ‘adopted’ two Minnesota National Guard members each school year and prepared monthly packages for them. The students and their families donated the items for the care packages and the students made cards to put with them before mailing them each month.
Fourth-grade teacher Tanya Fischer has gotten names of soldiers from the area or related to people in the area for the students to adopt. They will be looking for two more deployed soldiers at the start of the school year so keep this in mind.
Along with the donated items from students, the Dental Depot donated toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to include almost every month. Other items in the packages were personal care items along with snacks (granola bars, candy, crackers, chips), gum, and mints. They even had a way to find out some of the soldiers’ favorite things and included those items in the package.
At Christmas time, the students wrapped many of the items in Christmas wrapping paper so the soldiers had some presents to open. In the spring, they were lucky to get some Girl Scout cookies to include in the package.
In response, the students get cards, emails, and letters from the soldiers. The class was honored both years by the Minnesota National Guard with a flag and certificate of authenticity in thanks for their support. Last May, one of the soldiers was home but, due to COVID-19, was not able to come in and meet with the students. A surprise zoom meeting was lined up and she was able to visit with the students, thanking them and answering some of their questions.
Fischer applied for an Action Team Grant through Thrivent Financial and received $250 to help with purchasing items for the care packages and covering the cost of shipping.