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Students collecting supplies for soldiers

Jack Willis and Kayla Hodge, fifth-grade Union Elementary students, sort items to be donated for soldiers as part of the SECU's "Support the Troops" campaign.

Staff Writer


By collecting needed supplies earlier this season for North Carolina-based soldiers who are currently deployed, students at Union Elementary School hoped to both learn and put into practice important character traits.
“The project allows students to demonstrate the character education traits they learn about each month, and not just talk about them in class,” guidance teacher Lisa Earl said.
Through the project, Union Elementary guidance students learned about caring, respect and citizenship.
Earl also felt that the project exposed students to a future opportunity of serving their country.
“Donating items to the troops opens their eyes to a career they may want to consider in the future,” she noted.
Earl said that during the course of the project students are “always eager” to talk about friends and family members who have served or are currently serving in the military.
This is the second year that the school has partnered with the Lincolnton branch of the State Employees’ Credit Union to send items overseas, and Earl noted that both times, the soldiers’ response has been quite receptive.
“The soldiers sent a thank-you letter and pictures…distributing and opening their boxes,” she said.
Earl revealed how the military’s deep-seeded gratitude for the gifts stems largely from the fact that they are without their families during the holiday season and look forward to support from the American public.
“The soldiers are very appreciative of the support and encouragement they receive…especially during the Christmas season,” she said.
“Support the Troops” ran from Sept. 15 through Oct. 31. However, Union Elementary students only collected items for three of the nearly six week-long campaign and were still able to gather four boxes of items—twice as many items as last year, school officials said.
“Every student in the building has an opportunity to participate,” Earl noted, stating how the school plans to participate in the annual drive for as long as the campaign exists.
Items donated included sunscreen, Band-Aids, socks, games, snack food and toiletries, among various other supplies.
According to the SECU website, 5,000 boxes were distributed on behalf of the credit union’s campaign this year. Boxes were first sent to Raleigh for packaging and then distributed to North Carolina-based soldiers deployed from both the National Guard and other military branches, the site said.
In addition, SECU President Jim Blaine posted the following thoughts on the bank’s website, expressing his gratitude for individuals’ overwhelming response and generosity: “Much, much more than was required—far, far more than was expected…truly a gift from the heart.”
Bank officials said the overflow in donated items will allow SECU to bless many additional soldiers and their families this holiday season.
For more information on the SECU’s patriotic campaign, visit https://www.ncsecu.org/Highlights/SupportTheTroops.html

Image courtesy of Contributed

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