As they crowded around a Homeless Gear van in the Timnath Elementary School parking lot, students from Annessa Adams’ third-grade class craned their necks for a better look.
On the sidewalk behind them sat dozens of plastic bags and cardboard boxes stuffed full of supplies the students had spent months collecting for Homeless Gear, a nonprofit organization that assists homeless people in Larimer County.
The massive heap of donations started with third-grader Maddy Banks, who asked her teacher if they could turn the lessons she learned while writing a persuasive paper about helping people who are homeless into a class project. The students in the class voted and decided they wanted to help.
The Timnath students eagerly helped load the plastic bags full of donations into the Homeless Gear van. “Everybody seemed to pitch in,” said 9-year-old Maddy, after she and her classmates finished piling their boxes and bags into the van.
Maddy had carefully picked out her donations to the project: handwarmers, granola bars and personal hygiene products.
One of her classmates, Anthony Parsons, used his own money to purchase books at the school's book fair, which he originally wanted to share with his class. But after learning about the Homeless Gear drive, he decided other people might be able to use the books more and added them to the donation pile.
He said he wanted the people to have something entertaining to keep them happy during the day.
“I learned that homeless people aren’t just a statistic,” he said. “They are human beings that we should care about.”