CLINTON — As the holidays unfold, 17 families in Clinton, Montana will gather around their kitchen tables for a big Christmas dinner, a meal that perhaps they wouldn’t have if it weren’t for a group of fifth-grade students.
“As a class, we were talking about how there's been some changes in the way things are done, not just in school but life in general -- and how that's been a little difficult for people,” said Clinton teacher Tim Rose.
“And I thought, you know, I've got a small class with a great bunch of kids...we should do a project that would help our community," Rose continued.
It was at that point that Rose handed over the reins to his fifth-grade class at Clinton Elementary School. The students tossed around ideas, weighing which ones would be most impactful this time of year.
“I was actually the one that came up with the idea of a food drive,” said student Jadon Lowe, adding that his classmates quickly came on board with the idea.
So it was settled, a food drive for families who otherwise might not have the means to enjoy a traditional, home-cooked meal full of what you might call “Christmasy” foods.
“Sweet potatoes and hot chocolate and green beans and just a bunch of Christmas food,” said student Kelsey Eells.
With an idea mapped out, the class got to work. “They took off with it. They wrote to our principal for permission to do it, made flyers and everything,” said Rose.
With donations from community members, former students -- and even anonymous donors -- the class raised enough food to serve 17 families, proving that you don’t need a job or even a driver's license to make a difference in someone else’s life.
“A lot of families have had to cut back on hours and stuff like that, so we think they’ll be pretty happy, and that’s the reason that we did this,” said Kelsey.
Echoing his classmate’s sentiments, Jadon said, “if you feel bad for people who don’t get what you get like if they can’t enjoy that Christmas meal with their family, you can give stuff to them to help.”
Wrapping up the interview with his students, Rose said, “Not only was our school involved, but we got our whole community involved, and it just reassured me that I work in a great place and there are great people, who, even in tough times, are willing to help out.”