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Although they may be young, students at Lincoln Intermediate School discovered the true meaning of Christmas is not what they receive, but what they can give, especially to those who are less fortunate.

Working together, the students and staff raised more than $700 for local charities and gathered thousands of non-perishable food items for local charities.

“Our Character Education Council was looking do some service projects during the holiday season,” said Brad Barron, the council's advisor. “We started with 'Shop with a Cop' in mid-November with a 'Pie-in-the-Face Challenge.'

"During lunch hour, students could make a donation and choose what teacher would get a pie in the face,” Barron said. “Using our technology, we created a Google form and our Character Council kids kept a running track of who was in the lead.”

According to Barron, the competition was fierce. Although several teachers were on the students’ hit list, the contest came down to two very popular teachers: sixth grade ELA/reading teacher Tiffany Moore, and music teacher Jon Kekec.

“It was a pretty heated race between Mrs. Moore and Mr. Kekec,” Barron said. “But in the end, Mrs. Moore’s family wanted to get involved with a donation and that put her over the top. Her husband, her mom, sister and brother-in-law, helped out so her daughter, who is a fifth grader, got to put a pie in her face.”

In addition to the pie in the face which raised almost $300, the Character Council also sold candy canes as well.

“After the pie in the face competition, we just kept going,” Barron said. “The Character Council always sells candy during Christmas so for one week our candy cane sales also went to ‘Shop with a Cop.' So our students raised a total of $425.”

But Shop with a Cop was not the only organization the students from Lincoln wanted to help. They chose another local charity that could also use their help – Season of Hope.

“The week following Shop with a Cop, the council donated the funds they raised from the candy cane sales to Season of Hope,” Barron said. “In just one week, they raised $330 just in candy cane sales.”

While Lincoln was trying to help Season of Hope and Shop with a Cop, the young Knights were also able to gather 3,000 non-perishable food items.

“During this time, we also had a canned food drive,” Barron said. “We collected 3,000 food items for the local food pantries and our Knight Time Snack program.”

Students at Lincoln were proud of their work, but they knew there was one more charity they had to help out. One that was closer to home.

Students at Lincoln also helped collect more than 300 toys for Georgia’s Gift, a charitable foundation started by Ashley White, a sixth grade teacher at Lincoln, and her husband Aaron in memory of the daughter who passed away on Dec. 18, 2015 at the age of 3 months.

“It was very cool watching these kids get so excited and involved with doing something for those less fortunate,” Barron said. “We were busy, but I really think the kids enjoyed doing all the things they did and it was a lot for a month and a half.”

As the students left for the Christmas holiday, Barron said he was proud of the work they had accomplished and he hopes their holiday is as nice as the one they helped provide for others.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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