Woodward, Okla. —
Amy Whitewater's middle school GATES class is working on a project to brighten the holidays for troops overseas.
"We're making Christmas cards to send to the Oklahoma City Hugs programs, where they'll be put into care packages and sent to troops overseas," Whitewater said.
According to their website thehugsproject.com, the Hugs Project is dedicated to improving life of the U.S. military by providing troops serving in the Middle East with care packages consisting of handmade items for warmth or cooling, non-perishable items, and towards the holidays Christmas cards to let them know they're appreciated.
"We've worked with the Hugs Project in the past," Whitewater said. "This group is very creative and wanted to do something philanthropic. The middle school student council is currently raising money for the Woodward County Toy Drive, so the Hugs Project was something different for the kids to participate in.
"We usually have a Veterans Day assembly where we make a film honoring veterans, but the kids still wanted to do something patriotic. I thought this was a good way for them to do something from their hearts that would reach the soldiers. "
Whitewater said the cards will be tagged so the soldiers receiving them will know where they came from.
"Each card is unique," she said. "Each student picks out their own materials and their own design. I think the fact each card is hand made adds something to the gift, that the kids sit down and take time to draw and cut out and color them, that means something. The more time they put into it the more heart they put into it, and thats definitely more meaningful."
The cards hold special meaning for some students.
"One of our girls has a brother in the Marines who she'll be sending her Christmas card to," Whitewater said.
"I think they'll (cards) help. I think it boosts morale to let them know there are children who are thankful for what they're doing and that are thinking of them when they can't be with their families," Whitewater added.
Anyone interested in learning how they can also aid troops overseas can visit the Hugs Project's website at thehugsproject.com where they can also make online donations. Donations can also be mailed to The Hugs Project at PO Box 6761 Edmond OK 73083.