FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Christmas elves are hard at work at one Fond du Lac middle school. For the fifth year in a row, Sabish Middle School seventh graders are participating in an Elf Project. They're raising money to buy Christmas presents for community kindergartners who are in need.
More than 140 Sabish Middle School students are part of Project Elf, an initiative to make sure 200 kindergartners in the Fond du Lac school district have a merry Christmas.
"It all started because I have students who have told me in previous years, 'I'm not looking forward to Christmas,' and that breaks my heart," says teacher Gina Rieder.
Under Rieder's direction, Project Elf began five years ago. And each year, as a new set of seventh graders come through the school, they take over the project.
"I was super excited, just really anxious to start it," says student Ava Schultz.
Another student, Ella Spies, adds, "We sent out letters to a bunch of different companies and we asked them to donate money."
And as funds have been coming in, the elves talked with the kindergartners one-on-one about their needs. They've started shopping for snow pants, boots and jackets, along with school supplies and some toys.
Student Landon Schmitz says, "I loved the feeling of waking up and there's presents underneath the tree, and then the gift of giving, you get this feeling, and it just makes you want to give and help people have a great Christmas."
While the project is student run, they're still looking for the community to help either with donations or votes. Project Elf is in the top 30 of more than 3,000 projects vying to win an online #MyGivingStory contest. The top six finishers win between $2,500 and $10,000, money the students are hoping to win as they think of others this holiday season.
"Keep your spirits up and have a nice Christmas," adds student Kaleb Pagel.