Harmony Jordan can’t wait for Christmas.

Not only is she excited for her mom’s birthday and the stacks of presents she’ll discover under the Christmas tree, but she’s especially excited to give back to the community this year.

“Giving and caring is nice,” Jordan said.

She joined other second graders at Melrose Elementary School on Wednesday to decorate Christmas bags intended for the homeless, veterans and people living in retirement homes this holiday season.

It comes during the school’s sharing and caring month where students learn to think about others while also understanding what it really means to live in someone else’s shoes. Principal Tammy Rasmussen said this can mean helping students imagine what life may be like for someone living away from family in a retirement home or for a veteran who has made sacrifices for their country.

As students gathered in the cafeteria, Porsha Herrera, the school’s child development specialist, reminded them to think outside of their own world before preparing Christmas packages.

“Today we’re thinking about other people that we don’t even know,” Herrera said.

Every student received a brown paper bag to decorate alongside a Christmas tree cutout to write a note on. Some adorned their bags with Christmas trees or wrote “Merry Christmas” in large letters. Others like Jordan made sure to fill most of the blank space with purple and pink hearts.

Students then filled the bags with essential goodies — from festive face masks to socks — before forming a circle around Rasmussen for storytime.

“I like giving other people stuff,” second grader Paisley Hernandez said. “It makes me feel good.”

Fellow classmate Cole Stark said his favorite part about Christmas is giving.

The Christmas bags will be delivered to community members just in time for the holidays.

“We talk about the roots running deep at Melrose,” Rasmussen said. “The sharing and caring is one of those roots we want them to develop. The ability to see the world, to see and notice problems and then be able to then think of a way to solve it or fix it for a person.”

Madison Temmel is the education reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at mtemmel@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217.

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Madison Temmel is the education reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at mtemmel@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217.

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