This is the time of year that many people, young and old alike, open their hearts to help those in need.
The Storm Lake Middle School students have become involved in a project that will help children, orphaned by the war in Iraq. The project is known as Operation Hometown Fallujah.
Fifth grade teacher Joyce Olsen brought the idea to the school after being informed about it by her nephew, Army National Guardsman Joe Andrews who is stationed at Camp Fallujah.
"We are taking on a humanitarian project that will directly benefit the children of the community," it was stated in the information sent out by the guardsmen. "In the downtown area, the numerous kinder cares are filled with orphaned children that are housed every night by the teachers to provide somewhat of a home for them."
The guardsmen put out a plea for folks back home to help in their effort of collecting warm clothing and toys that could be distributed among the children by the Marines that patrol the neighborhoods.
"You, our families and friends, are constantly asking us what we need or what we would like; our basic needs are being met so it's time to fill the basic needs of the future leaders of Iraq."
The MS student council started the drive; over 20 boxes were sent out this week.
Amazingly, the fifth grade classes conducted a two-day bake sale at the school and raised over $600; those funds were used to pay for the postage.
Donated were 220 stuffed animals, 161 shirts, 26 sweatshirts, 113 pairs of pants/shorts, 19 sweaters, 20 coats, 13 scarves, hats and mittens and four full boxes of balls, toy cars, dolls and misc. toys.
The teachers and administrators are proud of the students' participation.
"Our kids think it's cool to be helping other kids," commented Assistant Principal Jaymie Bral.
The students were amazed at the number of donations received.
"It was fun to get so much stuff," said student council member Jennifer Rickards. "I know the kids will be happy when they get these things."