Third graders learn importance of giving with gift to Salvation Army

A group of area elementary students is getting a firsthand lesson on giving during the holiday season.

Third graders at Emerson Elementary in La Crosse have been learning about the importance of donating to those who aren’t as fortunate as them.

As part of that, they helped put together fleece blankets for the Salvation Army and gave Major Jeff Richardson the finished products today.

“It’s a wonderful thing to realize at this age, teachers are concerned about the future,” said Richardson. “This is a very giving community, and what a great thing to do to teach children as they’re raising up to be giving as well.”

Teacher Abby Ryan says the holiday season is a good time to teach kids about the importance of giving to others, instead of focusing on receiving.

“We were trying to teach the kids that your community is really so important, and without the backbone of your community, you’re just a singular person. But when we all collectively come together, we are that voice and that motion that propels the community forward,” said Ryan.

The kids say they had fun making the blankets, but they’re mostly happy just to help people who need them.

“I feel good because some people don’t have the stuff like we do, and I think it’s good that we’re giving people stuff that we don’t really need,” said third grader Kaylee Zielke.

Classmate Makayla Hemmersbach agrees.

“It felt good to give to the Salvation Army and know that I’m helping families and kids to stay warm during the winter,” said Hemmersbach.

Emerson Elementary has been making the blankets for the Salvation Army for seven years. It started as a project in just one third grade classroom and has since expanded to include all four third grade classes at the school.