- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - North High School freshman Grace Johns doesn’t think it’s fair that some people in the world don’t have all the things she and her friends do.

So, Johns, 14, wanted to work with her peers to bring a little cheer around Christmas to children in third world countries.

“I like helping and donating things to people,” Johns said.

North’s Spanish and United Way clubs came together this year to participate in Operation Christmas Child, sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse. On Thursday, about 20 students stayed after school to help fill shoe boxes with small gifts, including toys, school supplies, crafts, hygiene products, clothing, and accessories.

“I just really love children,” said Madyson Lowe, 14. “I just love helping people in general. I think it’s really fun to help out.”

Allysa Mills, North Spanish teacher and one of five Spanish club sponsors, said the club has participated in Operation Christmas Child for more than eight years. Mills said it started before she joined North, and she’s helped continue it.

“Obviously we want to help people in need in general,” she said. “But I think it’s also really relevant to the world language department because we try to educate our students about people in other parts of the world. … I think this helps them recognize life outside Evansville is broader, and (that) they need to be aware of other cultures and appreciate those cultures.”

This is the first year for North’s United Way club to be involved. Sponsor and biology teacher Sarah Braun said Operation Christmas Child seemed like a nice way to give back. She estimated 25-50 boxes would be filled.

Mills thanked everyone for the donations, including some community members that dropped items off at North’s office.

United Way club President Zach Maes helped filled shoe boxes for the last time. A North senior, Maes, 17, has volunteered since he was a freshman in Spanish club.

“I think it’s great because it helps kids that are less fortunate,” he said. “And it really shows how much we cherish Christmas. And most kids don’t have anything, so … it’s a great thing.”

Freshmen Kait Zenthofer and Kaylee Mercer, both 14, wanted to help kids that really need it.

“There’s suffering out there,” said freshman Wade Lowe, 15. “And they won’t have anything for Christmas, except like a corn husk doll they made. They need some toys and supplies to cheer up.”

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Source: Evansville Courier & Press, https://bit.ly/1Ta0cqB

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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