San Tan Elementary students prepare care packages for military personal

A look at a box a San Tan Elementary student prepared for a service member. (Submitted Photo)

This holiday season, a service member somewhere in the world will open a care package adorned with the colorful musings of an elementary-aged child.

This service member might be in a remote, hostile area, or on a ship or under the ocean’s azure in a submarine. This service member might receive little to no support from home. But the colored box will be filled with the items of home as a reminder that they are valued, according to a press release.

Students at San Tan Elementary, part of the Higley Unified School District, colored postal boxes for Boots in the House’s Care Package For Heroes — Holiday Cheer 2018 campaign Friday, Nov. 2.

Local station AZFamily/3TV came to broadcast the little ones at work. The excitement of the event helped remind students the significance of their task — showing appreciation for military personnel and remembering the sacrifices they make, a release states.

Children from San Tan Elementary School prepared boxes to send to active service member. (Submitted Photo)

Stacey Totman, first-grade teacher, said the event sparked classroom discussions on the importance of honoring our veterans and current service members.

“We talked about what it means to sacrifice and what the men and women in service do, how they sacrifice everyday and what their job is,” Ms. Totman said in a prepared statement. “They were really excited to be able to have the opportunity to do something nice for the men and women who sacrifice so much for us.”

Boots in the House founder Jamie Sistek said many of the packages the students at San Tan colored already have a final destination. Many have been nominated to be sent to Afghanistan, but some may find their way to Kuwait, Niger, Djibouti and even some undisclosed locations.

Boots in the House is a military support group organization out of Chandler and was established in 2014. They do a variety of charitable acts for service members that include giving resources to help with post traumatic stress, travel support and assistance for homeless or displaced veterans.

“We do a lot of things for our service members, past, present and future, but the biggest thing we spend the most time on is sending care packages to troops that are deployed in hostile locations,” Ms. Sistek said in a prepared statement.

Christine Omitt, Boots in the House secretary, said letters and cards they receive, including those written by the elementary students, are always placed at the top of the package so that it is the first thing military men and women see.

“All the feedback that we get from the troops, they just enjoy and look forward to the drawings and cards from the boxes,” Ms. Omitt said.

She said also included in these boxes will be instant-snow kits that will give the recipients the opportunity to have a snowy holiday — or a snowball fight — wherever they are.

Jennifer Zaur, mother of four and secretary of San Tan Elementary parent teacher organization, was a key contributor in organizing the service opportunity between the charity group and elementary school.

After Ms. Sistek made a Facebook shoutout on a local Gilbert group page for service volunteers, Ms. Zaur reached out to see how her students could assist.

“We were talking about what would be a good way to bring out some of the ‘leader in me’ qualities of San Tan,” she said in a prepared statement.

“We hope to achieve a sense of awareness for the kids, that we can give back to the community in positive ways. And something as simple as writing a letter or coloring a box makes someone’s day happy.”

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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