When elementary school students voluntarily give up their lunch and recess period, you can bet it's for something important.

That is exactly what the students at Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary in Ahwatukee Foothills have been doing throughout the year, to support local causes and help out those in need.

The Kids Care Club was founded this year and adopts projects for the students to complete. They recently completed a project of 74 fleece blankets, which were subsequently donated to the Kyrene Family Resource Center for district families who may be struggling financially.

Currently, Cerritos students and parent volunteers are working on two projects. One is to decorate and build 200 "Goodnight Bags," to be donated to the Kyrene Family Resource Center. In these bags will be a toothbrush, toothpaste and a book "to fall asleep to," one volunteer said.

"We wanted to put things in there they needed, and a book to cuddle up with before they go to bed," said Deanna Shah, mother and one of the lead organizers for the club. "We like to pick out projects that all kids can do and get excited about."

The club is also creating 100 Valentine heart garlands that they will be donating to La Estancia Nursing Home in honor of Valentine's Day.

"We're helping people because we want them to be happy," first-grade student Amberly Au said. "We want to ‘fill their bucket,' and we both get a drop because if they are happy then we are happy."

Shah said that nearly half of the entire student body has participated in one way or another throughout the year. They want to get involved and learn more about who they are helping and why.

"They ask a lot of questions," Shah said. "They understand that this is a treat for those who may not have a home."

Added first-grade student, Maddie Watson, "We're helping the kids that don't have a lot."

The students trade off in their classes, with two from each class getting to go during their lunch period, from 10:20 a.m. to 12:20 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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