YGC: West Central first graders give to students in Iraq - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

YGC: West Central first graders give to students in Iraq

by Danielle Wagner

MAYNARD (KWWL) -- A class of West Central first graders may be small in size, but they have big hearts.

West Central students and teachers were asked to do a project for Veterans Day.

"I knew my brother-in-law in Iraq had started handing out toys, stuffed animals to the kids over there because their lives are just not the lives our kids have. A lot are without parents, poor, no homes," said teacher Stacy Kuennen.

Stacy Kuennen sent notes home asking each child to bring in stuffed animals to send overseas.

"She got a big box and we put all our stuffed animals in it," said first grader Rachel Walenceus.

During winter break, Mrs. Kuennen's class got some mail back.

Each student received a toy camel and some Iraqi money, along with a thank you letter from Kuennen's brother-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John Roadcap. Also included were pictures of the Iraqi school students who got the stuffed animals.

"One of the kids commented on the smiles in the pictures. Look how happy we made them," said Kuennen.

"I felt happy because all the kids were nervous and sad because of war. I just felt happy because we were giving stuffed animals away," said Walenceus.

Rachel Walenceus said it wasn't hard to give up some of her toys for children she's never met.

"No, because I have tons and tons and tons of stuffed animals, and my mom was like you need to get rid of those soon!" she said.

Kuennen said most students did well parting with their toys, but one student decided to give up his favorite monkey.

"When we go the pictures back, he was looking for his monkey because he was so concerned he wanted to make sure it had a good home and that somebody would love it, and he thought they'd probably love it as much as he had," said Kuennen.

Kuennen described her class's generosity as a "hug from Iowa." Proving you don't have to be big in size to have a huge heart.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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