LITCHFIELD — Students in Jen Caron’s fifth grade class at Carrie Ricker School are spreading joy in their Pay it Forward project.

The idea came from the young reader’s edition of the book “Pay it Forward” by Catherine Ryan Hyde. In the book, a boy comes up with the answer to the crime rates and issues in his community by helping someone out and advising them to pay it forward.

The class brainstormed ideas to tackle throughout the school year and had a classroom “piggy bank” for loose change. The class received $65 in donations to buy food for Thanksgiving baskets for the food pantry, toys for Toys for Tots, and a gift to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland for the Christmas season.

Their efforts have also gone into making Veterans Day cards distributed at local establishments and Christmas cards for those in local nursing homes. Recently they gave gift cards to local police and fire departments. 

“Their ideas are many and their willingness to help out their communities is tremendous,” Caron said. “School isn’t just about reading, math and writing, but about teaching youngsters to grow into helpful, caring, and productive community members and these kids are certainly proving themselves.”

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