Valley View students are on a mission to care

Operation Caring has students sending special packages to soldiers abroad
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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The students at Valley View are on a mission. It’s a mission to care, that is, through Operation Caring with students collectively gathering goodies for soldiers overseas. Through the monthlong operation, students have collected items such as Band-Aids, microwavable popcorn, movies and DVDs, small games like crossword puzzles and word searches – anything that may help troops feel closer to home. “We want kids to show the soldiers that they care,” said Valley View teacher Margaret Lubinski. Lubinski was one of the teachers who helped organize the event. Last Tuesday students and community members gathered in the school’s multi-purpose room to sort and package the items. The end result was approximately 125 boxes ready to go in less than an hour, Lubinski said. “The kids have been really willing and excited about it,” she said. “Lots of enthusiasm.” With the help of Staff Sergeant Miller of Rocklin, the packaged goods will reach more than 200 soldiers in Kuwait in about 10 days, Miller said. Some of the packages included student letters asking soldiers what it’s like away from family and friends, what their daily routine is like and if they ever get scared. As preparation for Operation Caring, Miller attended a school-wide assembly where students had the opportunity to ask questions of Miller. “Do soldiers get homesick? Do soldiers ever cry because they miss their home and family?, How hard is it out there?” are just some of the questions Valley View students asked, with Miller responding through the eyes of a soldier. Miller himself was stationed overseas and knows what it’s like when something comes through the mail for soldiers. “It makes them feel happy, just getting something from strangers,” he said. Every Friday for a month, student council members made school announcements asking for student support for Operation Caring. Students collected items from friends, families, neighbors and other community members. A local Girl Scout troop gave $200 of their Girl Scout cookie earning money toward purchasing items for the care packages and several Whitney High School football players make the trip to Valley View last Tuesday to help package. Since this year was such a success, Lubinski said the school and students may continue next year – perhaps in a different way. “There are a lot of different ways to care,” she said.