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Winola Elementary students think of seniors for Thanksgiving


Kaithen Kallenbach said he loves to make people happy, “It feels great, because you’re helping
other people that don’t get to see their friends or family.”


“They’re going to feel loved - and this is what’s most important.” Beth Springer, Life Enrichment Coordinator, Brookstone, Aledo, a senior living facility.

Tuesday, Carly Minch's fourth grade class at Winola Elementary packed and delivered Thanksgiving Gift Bags for the 76 senior residents at Brookstone.

Each year Minch's class chooses community outreach projects. She said her class works on character-building throughout the year.

“I’m excited that they’ll probably have a smile on their face when they get these. I want them to know that we care about them. I’m excited for them to be happy because they don’t get visitors there right now,” said Justine Elsbury, 10.

Winola fourth grader, Justine Elsbury packed six of the 76 gift bags
her class made for seniors at Brookstone senior living facility in Aledo.

"We talk all the time about spreading kindness and paying it forward... In our room, we're a community group. But it doesn't stop here. I think it's just as important to the residents as it is for the kids to see the importance of thinking of others," said Minch. 

She said the class brainstormed how they could reach out to the senior residents. 

The purpose of the gift bags, according to Minch’s class, is to, "Show that people care about them in a time when they are restricted on having visitors...  to spread the kindness we do in our classroom everyday to people in our community... put a smile on their face.... And pay it forward."

“I really wanted them to take the ownership here, they were super excited this morning to get to do that,” said Minch.

Kaithen Kallenbach, 10, said he loves making people happy, “It feels great, because you’re helping other people that don’t get to see their friends or family.”

Packing Car
Students helped load Minch's car in the pouring rain - careful
to keep the Thanksgiving Gift Bags dry for their recipients.


Pre-packaged items were chosen by the fourth graders - they chose fun activities and toiletries to help in the coming winter months. Gift bag items included; hot cocoa, tissues, chapstick, lotion, hand sanitizer, candy, blow pops, color sheets, colored pencils, word searches, a picture colored by students, a message to them and an ornament.

The contents of the bags were donated by student’s families.

Minch delivered the gift bags to the facility on Tuesday - so they had plenty of time to get them to the residents in time for a Thanksgiving surprise.

In the future, Minch said her class is hoping to connect with seniors virtually.

Springer said she was overwhelmed when Minch contacted her about the idea, “It’s amazing to have people from the community reach out and do things like this. The residents are going to be thrilled.”