RACINE — The saying goes “it is better to give than receive.”
Fourth grade students at Southern Elementary took that to heart this year when it came time to planning for their annual Christmas party and gift exchange.
Rather than bringing in gifts to exchange with classmates, the students brought in items to be gifted to Heaven’s Saints Motorcycle Ministry which will be given to individuals in homeless camps in Columbus and Charleston over the holidays.
On Tuesday, Ralph Ross and his wife Sally, of Mason, W.Va., went to the school to collect the items from the students on behalf of H.S.M.M. Ross had visited with the students a few weeks ago and explained to them about the mission to help the homeless and explaining the needs of the individuals in the camps.
When accepting the items, Ross explained to the students that those in the camps would be receiving the items for Christmas in bags which would be like their stockings.
“These are their packages that they will receive because of you,” he told the students.
The items collected include blankets, gloves, hats and many other items which will help those in the homeless camps to survive the cold winter weather.
Fourth grade teacher Missy Hoback explained that when it came time to discuss the gift exchange the students decided that they wanted to do something that meant a little more, rather than the typical gift exchange.
Students made posters and placed them throughout the school, encouraging others to participate in the project as well.
H.S.M.M. has been working with the homeless camps for approximately 4 years. Ross said that there are six camps in Columbus and two in Charleston the group works with.
“It is a blessing to give,” explained Ross of working with the individuals in the camps. Some in the camps are veterans while others are undergoing medical treatments, he explained. “It is about survival.”
One time a month volunteers with H.S.M.M. go to the camps to take collected items such as food and clothing. They also provide tents and portable heaters to help shelter the individuals from the cold weather. When the weather warms up the group switches out the winter items for summer ones, meeting the needs of the individuals no matter the weather.
Reach Sarah Hawley at 740-992-2155 or on Twitter @SarahHawleyNews