The holiday season is a great time to get students involved in community service. Many parent groups organize projects that help kids make a difference. These creative holiday projects from last year are among our favorites.

Toy Joy

Students at Granger Elementary in Medina, Ohio, made the holidays brighter for patients at Akron Children’s Hospital. For the PTO’s Giving in Granger service project, the preK through 5th graders donated more than 200 new teddy bears and other stuffed animals last December. Cards handmade by students at the PTO’s Santa Shop were attached to each toy.

Sister School

In Austin, the Baranoff Elementary PTA spent nine weeks in fall 2009 focusing on service to others. Baranoff’s sister school in Austin, Blazier Elementary, opened in 2007 and was still working to fill its library shelves with books; the Baranoff PTA coordinated a coin drive that raised $350 to buy library books. And before Thanksgiving last year, Baranoff classrooms donated baskets of food for 25 families at the sister school as part of a PTA project. In a separate project, Baranoff students donated 425 winter coats to the Junior League of Austin’s Coats for Kids drive.

Food Drive

Students at Wadewitz Elementary in Racine, Wis., collected 1,000 pounds of food last December for the Holy Communion Lutheran Church food pantry. The students had plenty of motivation: when they met their goal, PTA vice president Gretchen Berthiaume and a brave student volunteer had their heads shaved during a school assembly.

Is your school giving back this holiday season? We'd love to hear about your projects and programs!