Earlier this week a group of 7th graders from the Shawano Community Middle School made the trip to the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King to drop off a donation of over 1,000 needed items to veterans.
Seventh grade students Caitlyn Kroeger and Carly Knope took initiative to start a donation drive at their school by making it a competition among all classes to see who could raise the most items.
“I decided that I wanted to help and I wanted to bring friends to help me,” Kroeger explained. “We helped donate things that they ran out of, like daily necessities.”
“We asked the whole school to donated daily things, even like a box of Kleenex that they don’t use anymore, and we collected all of those and kept we kept tally in each homeroom,” Knope added.
The classroom that raised the most items won a pizza party celebration. Carly Knope says the experience dropping off the items to the veterans was eye-opening.
“I definitely have a different point of view on how I look at veterans and how I look at everything in general,” Knope stated. “There was a lot of different emotions, personally, but it made me feel really good.”
Caitlyn Kroeger said when she saw the items the veterans needed, she was excited to help raise items, and pleasantly surprised to see the home in good condition.
“I was thinking with everything that they said they needed, it was not going to be as nice as it actually was,” Kroeger learned. “I thought the place was going to be more run down and not a lot of people there and everyone was going to be sad, but everyone was really happy.”
Items that the students donated were daily necessities, like socks, shoes, shampoo, tissues, floss, and more. Carly Knope added they took it upon themselves to find ways to extend their reach beyond the school.
“I brought the list of items that they needed to my mom’s work and they were really nice about that,” Knope said. “They were really nice about that. They told me that I did a good job and that I was doing everything for a very good cause, and they donated a lot of stuff.”
Both Kroeger and Knope were inspired so much by their recent visit that they’re in the early stages of planning visits to area nursing homes locally, as plans to go to Evergreeen nursing home are in the works.
Caitlyn Kroeger explains how the experience is something that will stick with her for the rest of her life and potential future career.
“I either decided that I was going to join the military,” Kroeger explained. “I got that from my mom because she joined the military. Since we did all of this, I also wanted to see if I could work at a nursing home, or something like King.”
Both Caitlyn Kroeger and Carly Knope are making posters to present their experience and share what they’ve done with the Shawano VFW Post 2723 to establish a connection within the community.
Caitlyn Kroeger and Carly Knope, this week’s Community Helpers.