RIVERDALE -- Big purple boxes were overflowing with Easter treats Friday at Riverdale Elementary. Those treats will now fill more than 100 Easter baskets to be delivered to children at Primary Children's Hospital just in time for Easter next week.
The service project has been going on for eight years at the school, and every year the students, teachers and parents look forward to filling the baskets.
Mom Kristi Edelman hurried into the school to bring a bag full of scapbooking supplies to her son's first-grade class Friday.
"We are huge on scrapbooking at our house and my little boy spent time at Primary Children's, so it's close to my heart," Edelman said as she hugged her son, Carter, close to her.
Carter has a heart condition and has spent many days needing things to do from a hospital bed. That's why Edelman took the time to put together the scrapbook kits.
"They need something to keep their hands busy," she said. Her family donates items to the service project every year.
"It's amazing what they do here," she said of the service project. Carter grinned from ear to ear as his teacher praised him and his mom for their donations. "It's really good," he said.
Second-grade teacher Ranel Cox is in charge of the event for the school. For her, it is a wonderful labor of love. She too has had a baby spend time at Primary Children's.
Before doing the baskets for Primary Children's, the school did another service project for a far-away children's cause, and she decided it would be nice to do something for a place that kids at her school might have to someday visit.
"We have students that have spent time at Primary Children's, so it makes sense for us to do that," Cox said.
The project has evolved over the years, but the main theme stays the same -- it is a service project with no strings attached, never becomes a competition between classes and donations are completely anonymous.
Cox sends a note home at the beginning of March, telling families what the school is doing, and then a flier goes out in the middle of the month.
Boxes are set up through the school, and students bring small and large trinkets in all month. Some students donate money.
"I got a 7-cent donation today," said Americorp Literacy Coordinator Leslie Hanson. She has helped Cox put everything together and has enjoyed watching all the different items that have come in, including ready-made baskets, puzzles, stickers and bubbles.
Cox will take all the items home, fill the baskets with her family's help and deliver them to Primary Children's.
Cox appreciates the fact that the students can take a moment during the Easter season to think of someone else and think about taking care of someone else.
"I like to see the kids give," she said. She watches as they think over the fact that some kids won't go to grandma's to hunt Easter eggs or even leave their hospital beds.
Brother and sister Tanner and Elle Gould carefully discussed with their mom what they would donate.
"I just thought it would be very nice to do," Tanner said. "It's good to help out children who are very sick."
Elle said her mom talked to her about how nice it would be to donate, and she worked with her mom to put scrapbook packets together.
Cox said students start asking in the spring when the project will start, which makes her happy to know it's on their minds. She hopes to continue the project as long as the school supports it.