Century 1st graders send Christmas cheer to soldiers

Jodi Erickson's teacher learned a lesson on the joy of giving while sharing gifts and cards with service members overseas.

Students in Jodi Erickson's first grade class at Century Elementary School made Christmas cards and packed up five boxes of gifts last week to send to U.S. service personnel in Germany. Contributed / Jodi Erickson, Dec. 10, 2021

A first grade class at Century Elementary School donated five boxes full of presents and made Christmas cards last week to send to military personnel serving overseas.

“We collected snacks and games – cards, dice,” said teacher Jodi Erickson, “and then made cards, and they were sent to Germany, to an uncle of one of my students, who will distribute them to the people that he’s with.”

The addressee of the mailers is Sgt. Chris Weaver, who serves at a medical facility that treats wounded soldiers, Erickson said. He’ll be distributing the cards and gifts to his co-workers.

Inside the five boxes are some of each item that the kids brought in, plus a total of 20 cards with a Santa Claus pattern, colored by the children in Erickson’s class. She estimated that the gifts could bring a little holiday joy to around 30 people.

“I do this every year,” she said. “I send out a note asking if anyone has a family member overseas, and this was the one that came back. So, then, we are in contact a little bit, and they tell me what kind of things they’re looking for. Then the kids bring them in and we pack it up.”


Erickson tied the activity in with other lessons for the class. “We looked where Germany is in the world,” she said. “We also, when it’s Veterans Day, do kind of a bigger deal of recognizing people that have served or do serve.”

At this time of year, she said, that led them to think about “how it would really be stinky to not be with their families during the holidays, and giving them something that might cheer them up.”

Asked what interested her in this project, Erickson said she had family that served in the military. But also, she took the project over from a former teacher in the district.

“I hope that my kids understand that giving makes them feel good,” she said. “That was what we really talked about at the end, when we got everything packaged up – that it feels good to be giving something, or making something for somebody who can’t be with their family.”

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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