TEMPERANCE - Charitable groups from across the Toledo area will benefit from the "Kids Reach Out" day of service that took place Friday at Smith Road Elementary.
Each grade level at the kindergarten-through-sixth grade building in the Bedford school district sponsored a different cause, ranging from the Cherry Street Mission to Toledo Hospital.
Students started preparing at the beginning of the school year, kindergarten teacher and program coordinator Rachelle Wheeler said.
"We think there is so much need right now," Mrs. Wheeler said. "We decided to have everyone focus on something different so we would get more outreach."
Students were asked to perform chores to earn money to buy supplies.
Fourth grader Danielle Tucker, 9, swept the floor and fed the dog to raise money for her class project.
"I think it was actually pretty nice to be helping other people," she said.
The school also reached out to area businesses and parents for support, Mrs. Wheeler said.
Friday morning, the giving moved into full swing.
Kindergartners spent the morning decorating and assembling toiletry bags for the Sparrow's Nest, a battered women's shelter run by the Cherry Street Mission. More than 150 bags containing shampoo, deodorant, soap, razors, tissues, and other personal-care supplies were put together for women and children, Mrs. Wheeler said.
At the same time, first graders were busy making 126 cat and dog toys for the Humane Society of Monroe County. The class also donated food, blankets, pet toys, and feeding bowls to the organization.
Second graders spent the morning assembling care packages and writing letters for 52 U.S. soldiers of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Iraq.
Meanwhile, third-grade students made cards and almost 50 dozen muffins for Luther Haus assisted living on Smith Road.
Fourth graders tied fringe strips on sheets of fleece to make 63 blankets for the neonatal intensive care and cancer units at Toledo Hospital.
Fifth-grade students hosted a tea party for about 20 Luther Haus senior citizens. Students used the time to learn about history and put on a musical performance.
Sixth-grade students held a clothing drive for Cherry Street Mission, filling one conversion van and half of another with supplies, Mrs. Wheeler said.
The project was so successful, school officials plan to make it an annual event, Mrs. Wheeler said.
"I really saw a transformation in those kids today," she said. "So much of our society is focused on encouraging kids to think about themselves."
"They've been preparing for this all year. Once they experienced this, they loved it."
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