Payson Elementary School's fourth-graders challenged the kindergartners to support "Operation Goodies for Soldiers," an effort to bring needed supplies to our troops in Iraq. The friendly competition turned into a heated battle. In a close race the kindhearted kinders crept ahead to win. Nearly 30 bags and boxes of supplies were handed over to Butch Klien and Lud and Marian Kaftan of Payson Supply Line, a local group that sends well-received items to troops serving in Iraq.
The students wanted to make their giving special with a holiday theme. Thus, 77 Christmas stockings stuffed with candy, letters and hand-drawn pictures as well as sundries like sunscreen, Chapstick, gum, cards, shampoo and eyedrops are on their way overseas.
The troops may not be able to come down the stairs at Christmas to a home filled with the holiday spirit, but they will know that some child and their family in Payson, Arizona took the time, treasure and talent to show them they care. They will know that back home there are children thankful for their sacrifice and keeping them in their thoughts and prayers.
Teachers Cathy Stevens, MaryAnn Runzo, Jamie Goldman, Carol-Lyn Ryden and Roger Rohrbach noticed that it was not just the kinders that won. All students won the reward of feeling good for having helped someone fighting for our freedoms in a faraway land. They won by giving from the heart. The teachers won the satisfaction of knowing that their important work pays off not only in book learning but also in character building. Of course, our troops win by receiving much-needed supplies.
What started out as a friendly competition between older and younger students ended up with winners all around.
Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that not one piece of candy was eaten by the fourth-graders. A few of the candy canes, however, may have accidentally come dangerously close to the tongues of some kindergartners. Not to worry, though, most of the candy was wrapped and looked quite safe. Really now, what's a slightly used candy cane compared to combat in Iraq? Our troops can handle it.
More information about Payson Supply Line and how to donate to American troops in Iraq is available by calling 474-6968 or 474-6981.