WHITING | Every year the students at St. John the Baptist School participate in Adopt a Baby, the school's annual advent outreach project.
Every year, they raise money and collect thousands of dollars in donations for families who need items for their young children.
The students say it teaches them lifelong lessons about giving and Christian compassion, and it makes them true stewards of God's gifts.
Fifth-grader Alexander Linn, of Chicago, said he bought a pack of three baby wipes.
"I think this is pretty nice. There are lots of families who don't have anything for their babies," he said.
Every teacher and every student at the school is involved in the effort. Each student gets a baby, who is identified by gender and age only, along with sizes and suggested needs.
In a letter to parents, Principal Marilyn Tomko said students also learn the importance of reaching out to those in need.
Eighth-grade teacher Rose Bobby supervised the students in the cafeteria shortly before Christmas as they sorted hundreds of items. The gifts are then turned over to three local organizations — the Nazareth home, Women's Care Center (formerly called the Birth Choice) and The Answer.
Eighth-grader Sarah Hasik said she enjoys the project because it provides necessary items to so many people each year.
"Sometimes people don't have a lot of stuff for their kids and this helps them out," she said.