Halloween brings with it an overabundance of candy, and one Pullman elementary school class has found a charitable way to put those leftover treats to good use.

At the suggestion of her students, Sara King’s third-grade class at Jefferson Elementary last year donated their candy to soldiers serving overseas.

It was such a success that this year’s class decided to follow in their footsteps.

King said the candy drive started last year when her students were talking about the letters they were going to write to soldiers as part of an annual Veterans Day tradition at Jefferson.

“We were sitting around talking about what we could write in our letters and brainstorming, and one of my little girls said, ‘Well, I think we should do more,’ ” King said.

The children offered their ideas. King said one suggested sending the troops on a trip to Hawaii. Another had a more plausible suggestion.

“Another kid said, ‘My mom’s throwing my Halloween candy away. Why don’t we give them our candy? They didn’t get Halloween,’ ” King said.

So they brought in their treats, sorted them and included them with their letters to the military members.

King’s friend served in Iraq at the time, and she enlisted his help to distribute the candy to the troops. Four of those soldiers wrote thank-you letters back to King’s class.

King said the credit for this generous effort belongs to her students.

“It was very altruistic of the kids,” she said. “Very much their project, their idea.”

This year’s class heard about the candy drive and wanted to participate with the goal of doubling the amount of candy raised last year. That would be two full totes of goodies instead of one.

“They’re like, ‘We’re going to go to twice the houses, and then we’ll have twice the candy,’ “ she said.

King said she is still trying to figure out where to send this year’s candy. She would like to find a soldier or two with a connection to Pullman.

King’s class participates in multiple charitable efforts throughout the year. She said last year they took part in a pajama drive for Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, and made Valentine’s cards for a local retirement center.

King said these activities not only help others, but teach important values to her third-graders.

“They need to know that they can start small,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be this giant effort. It could just be one person, and that’s kind of what we try to instill in this classroom. That it just takes one person to change something.”

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to akuipers@dnews.com.

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