For the last several years, the Jefferson high school and elementary school students, staff and student organizations have undertaken a service project to improve the lives of those less fortunate than themselves. This service project replaced a holiday gift exchange between the students. For the 2009 holidays, the school chose to honor "Jared’s Box".
Jared’s Box was started by a little boy who battled cancer. He carried a backpack full of toys and games to all his doctor appointments. It bothered him that other children didn’t bring toys to their exam rooms, so he began collecting items to make boxes for other children. Jared’s battle ended on November 12, 2000, but he is an inspiration to everyone who hears about his project and it continues to live on ten years later.
The Jefferson students received $50 in initial seed money from Modern Woodsman Insurance. With this funding, storage boxes and items for the box were purchased. Donations came in to the school after the first letter went home to families in November.
The boxes were labeled and marked by age and gender, i.e. infant girl, infant boy, up to 8 and older boy or girl. Items donated for the infant boxes included bib, sippy cups, pacifiers, teething rings. Items for the middle age children included match box cards, play-doh, books, stickers, crayons, stuffed animals and card games. Older children’s boxes contain nail polish, journals, gel pens, fingernail files, card games, crossword puzzle books, and word search books.
On December 30, Jefferson’s National Honor Society students and their advisor, Stacey Mattson, delivered 24 Jared’s Boxes to St. Francis Hospital & Health Services in Maryville. The boxes will be given to children who have overnight stays at the hospital.
PHOTO: Members of Jefferson High School’s National Honor Society delivered 24 Jared Boxes to St. Francis Hospital on December 30. Shown are: (front row from left) Allison Schultz, RN at St. Francis; Alan Schieber; Troy McQuinn; Megan Sleep, St. Francis LPN; (back row) Chelsey Merrigan; Colton Holtman; and Ryan McQuinn. Not pictured are NHS members Andy Chor, Jamie Degase and Jacob Stoll.