Second grade students at Edwards Elementary School collected 53 new and gently used blankets to help keep Ames citizens warm this winter.

Teacher Terri Boeding said the project, now in its second year, helps students learn the value of giving to others.

“We want students to learn to be compassionate and to care for people in need,” she said.

Boeding said since classrooms are full of students from all backgrounds who celebrate various holidays, teachers and students looked for a way to promote generosity while still being sensitive to a differing customs and beliefs.

“A basic human need of keeping warm during cold weather led us to this cause,” she said.

Teachers also wanted to respect the wide range of students’ families’ financial situations, Boeding said.

“So we welcomed new or used blankets,” she said. “Many students brought in clean comforters, baby blankets or throws from home, while others purchased new ones”.image002

Students say the blanket drive gave their families a chance to work together in the spirit of giving.

Brayden Crosser, for example, said he helped his grandmother make a blanket for the project.

“I wanted to make a blanket to give to the homeless people of Ames and do a project with my grandma,” he said.

Ian Helgersen said when he told his family about the blanket drive and how he wanted to help people who didn’t have warm homes, his family responded generously.

“I went to Target with my family and we bought three blankets,” he said.

Sophia Kyveryga said, “I told my mom that I wanted to get a blanket to give to the homeless people of Ames.  We bought one from TJ Max.”

Sophia’s mother, Natalia Rogovska, was so grateful, she sent an email to Boeding thanking her for “teaching our kids to be compassionate.”

Edwards second grade teachers are Boeding, Kelly Hansen and Heather Werner.

Boeding said the blankets were delivered to Youth and Shelter Services.