During Thanksgiving break, McIntire Elementary School kindergarten teacher Shauna Smith saw an interview on TV that led to several soldiers receiving a special reminder of home for the holidays.
McIntire students, their families and other members of the community rallied to write 2,152 Christmas letters and cards in just one week for soldiers serving overseas.
The letters were sent to a project called Savannah's Soldiers, started by a girl in south Florida named Savannah Maddison who organized a nationwide letter drive for soldiers after her friend's father was deployed to Afghanistan for a year. Smith learned of Savannah's Soldiers when she saw an interview with Maddison on The Today Show.
Smith called the program when she returned for school Nov. 29 and was encouraged to submit letters, but there was a catch: The deadline to have letters in was Dec. 10.
"I decided to have a school assembly to tell the kids about Savannah's Soldiers and gave them the challenge of writing 1,000 letters or cards for projects," said Smith. "I sent home a letter with each of them and encouraged families to help out." It explained to parents what Savannah's Soldiers was about and what we were going to do.
"We have about 400 kids at McIntire School. Each child during the school day would be writing letters, but to get to the goal we would need more help."