LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After a month of collecting hats, scarves, gloves and other warm winter clothing at their school, about a dozen Johnson Traditional Middle School students spent Monday morning hanging their donations in neighborhoods around the school for those in need.
About a dozen special-needs students on the school's Discovery Team program received 690 donations through the drive, which is the first for the school.
"And it definitely won't be the last, I'm sure," Exceptional Child Education teacher Jodi Cox said as students pulled a small wagon of winter clothing through a neighborhood near the school, stopping occasionally to tie them to fences, sign posts and other spots.
Cox said she would like to see other Jefferson County schools launch similar initiatives for those in need during the winter months.
Each donated item left on Monday included a tag that read, "I'm not lost, if you are cold, take me, I'll keep you warm. Warm wishes this holiday season, Johnson Traditional Students."
Students on the Discovery Team put boxes outside their classroom, in the lobby, outside the cafeteria and other places in the school to encourage donations from their fellow students. The 690 items topped the school's original goal of 500.
Tavion Fletcher, a 7th grader, said the project drove home the importance of giving to those in need, particularly around the holidays.
"Some people are like very happy," he said. "They've got a big smile on their face, and they say thank you to a lot of us because they really needed them. I just don't like seeing people cold."
For Cox, the warm winter clothing drive provides students a sense of connection with their school and the surrounding communities.
If fellow students are able to grab a scarf or a pair of gloves that they need before boarding the bus home, "that means the world to us," she said.
"We were able as a group to donate and collect and give out, and it's just, it's amazing to think that we were able to do that for someone," she said.
Fletcher wasn't the only person to learn something through the clothing drive. Cox said completing the project showed her that her students "are capable of more than what people realize."
"Whenever people look at special ed and they look at our classrooms, they just see kids that can't or kids that won't, and our children have sorted, they've counted, they've been able to go through and make matches out of things, and now they're walking around and actually doing this in our community," she said. "My kids are capable."
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