Students stuff stockings to make holidays special for seniors - KCTV5

Students stuff stockings to make holidays special for senior citizens

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SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

We've all seen the angel trees that help bring cheer to needy children during the holidays, but this time of year can be difficult and lonely for many senior citizens too.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 10 million people ages 65 and older have lost their spouses. The Administration on Aging reports that nearly 12 million non-institutionalized people 65 and older live alone.

But there's a group of kids hoping to make the holidays extra special for Johnson County seniors.

For the 96 fourth-graders at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee, KS, the holidays are more than about getting gifts - they're about giving and spreading holiday cheer to some who may be lonely this time of year.

For the past month the students have studied government and what it takes to be a good citizen.

"I really, really do like doing this because it makes me feel good," Grace Emerson said.

They focused on how even they can make a difference in their communities and that's where stuffing stockings comes in. The teachers asked their students to collect simple items like tissues, soaps, mints and they collected more than they hoped for. They filled 130 stockings and had more items left over.

"I'm surprised we got a lot of stuff to donate to charity and our stockings are really stuffed," Noah Webber said.

The kids are spreading cheer to seniors who might be forgotten this time of year. Meals on Wheels - which serves people who cannot leave their house because of mental or physical disability - will distribute the goods.

"It's just such a surprise, such a Christmas joy that is brought to their doorstep. Our volunteers are literally the only people that see them sometimes and that's their only socialization, so this will be wonderful for them to receive," said Arah Montagne, a volunteer coordinator with Meals on Wheels for Johnson County.

The students realize the great impact that a seemingly small deed has.

"It makes them feel great about themselves and I think they like it because they know someone's there for them," Madison Vosburt said.

The students are also including handwritten notes and hope to spread their kindness with actions and words.

"It makes my heart so happy to know that I'm making an impact and our fourth-grade team is making an impact and helping reach those kiddos to hopefully become good citizens and contribute to think about others all year long," said teacher Kelly Mulvihill.

The stockings are being delivered next week, in time for Christmas.

Meals on Wheels is always accepting volunteers to help deliver meals. Here's more information on the program:

  • Volunteers deliver meals to homebound seniors once a week, once a month, or when available.
  • Meals are delivered from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., Monday through Friday

Meals can be delivered by:

  • Individuals
  • Civic and other groups
  • Faith community teams
  • Employee teams
  • Routes are available in your neighborhood
  • Children are welcome to accompany parents or grandparents on the route.

If you are interested or want additional information, please call Brandy at 913-715-8866, email Brandy.Hodge@jocogov.org or see their web page about volunteer opportunities.

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