Student care for troops

Beef jerky, personal letters, photographs and more will be mailed to U.S. forces in Afghanistan later this week as a reminder that local sixth-graders appreciate their service.

January 27, 2010|By Brianna Bailey

Between packets of hot chocolate and tubes of lip balm, sixth-graders from Temple Bat Yahm’s religious school tucked personal letters into care packages heading this week to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“I told them basic stuff, like where I live and what I like to do. I also tried to ask a lot of questions, too,” said 12-year-old Alex Roude, who attends school at Vista Verde Elementary.

“I hope they write back,” Alex said.

The students stuffed boxes of goodies for troops as part of the Newport Beach temple’s annual Mitzvah Day program. It’s a day where temple members perform good deeds for the community, like collecting clothing for the needy and making lunches for homeless people.


Many of the temple’s 200 religious school students, kindergartners up to ninth-graders, participated in the Mitzvah Day event.

“It helps them to focus on other people and be more sensitive to the needs of others,” said Joanne Mercer, director of religious education at Temple Bat Yahm.

Other classes from the temple’s religious education program collected supplies for women and children at a battered women’s shelter, and made blankets for needy and sick children, among other good deeds.

The sixth-graders stuffed 35 boxes with magazines, candy, gum and beef jerky. The children also included photos of themselves to make the care packages more personalized.

“I learned that it’s always nice to make other people happy and to do things for people who are less fortunate,” said 11-year-old Jordan Sellinger, a sixth-grader from Eastbluff Elementary School. “It’s not the socks in the package that matter; it’s the letters.”

Mercer will take the packages to the post office this week for delivery to Afghanistan.

Every child has gotten a letter of thanks from a service member in return, when past classes have done the same project, Mercer said.

“It helps the kids realize how it is to be away from your family and miss them,” she said.

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