BES makes comfort kits
Baldwin Elementary School students have been in the giving spirit this year.
Earlier, the students raised more than $1,400 for the Sept. 11 fund.
Right before winter break, in one week, the students and their families donated more than enough items to make 30 comfort kits for a National Guard unit as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"They wanted to do something," Student Council co-sponsor Jane Miller said.
Led by the 12-member Student Council Top Dogs, BES made 30 comfort kits Thursday, complete with shampoo, stationary, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, candy and gum, for the Army National Guard, 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry out of Lawrence.
The National Guard unit, which could be deployed as soon as today, will be made up of some Baldwin residents. Their names have not released by the National Guard.
"The students had a need to do something," Miller said. "And I think that makes it more meaningful for them."
Usually, she said, the school, organized by the student council, collects money to donate.
"They didn't do that because we already collected money for Sept. 11," she said. "But they still wanted to do something else."
So the student council decided to adopt a National Guard unit, she said.
BES students had one week to collect and bring their donations to school to help complete the comfort kits, Miller said.
"As each day there was more, then there was more the next day," she said.
The school also had outside contributions, she said. Dr. Robert Seaman contributed toothbrushes, postmaster Sarah Wilson donated stationary, third grade representative Hayley Schwartz gave the gift bags, Rod's Hallmark in Lawrence contributed cards and the Hallmark Corporation donated pocket calendars. Discoveries donated coins with angels on them, which the students placed in the comfort kits with notes that read "May this angel watch over you."
"People were very generous," Miller said. "Students often brought more than one of the items."
Assistant principal Deb Ehling-Gwin said parents were also interested in the project.
"We had several parents call in," she said. "I don't remember having parents inquire when it was money or a can of green beans. It's kind of in some way closer to home than just the money drives.
"Since Sept. 11, people have just wanted to do something," Ehling-Gwin said.
Miller said the students, especially the student council, were pleased with the outcome.
"I think they were excited their plans were received so well," she said.
"We have a very patriotic group," Miller said. "They just like to help."