REED CITY — When a classroom at Norman Elementary decided they were up to the challenge to help other people, little did they know they could double what they were supposed.

And, then again, maybe they did.

Fifth grade teacher Marie Calabrese challenged her students to bring in 100 items, “and we told her we could do that,” one boy recalls. He was right. They brought in 206. Canned goods. Cereal and other food items. “Even peanut butter and jelly,” one child remembers.

They also provided important things like paper towels, toilet paper, and other such things that families use regularly.

“It’s food and stuff for the poor,” a child said, and another shared, “I bet we get some.” Still another said he knows families that need help, “and we want to help them.” They are.

All of the food and other products collected will be donated to the local pantry to be distributed, all because a teacher and a group of children and those folks behind scenes such as parents and friends were up to the challenge. And doubled it.

A thanks showed up the day the drive ended. Pizza. A special treat for a classroom full of very special young people who need only a pat on the back and a thank you. They weren’t even expecting pizza. It came as a surprise. “It’s too bad we can’t take some to the poor people,” a child said. That same child said she would have been willing to go with out.

“It’s a good thing what we did,” still another youngster offered, adding, “because there are people who need it.” They don’t have enough money to afford it, and they have to eat, so they starve if nobody helps,” were all comments tossed in by children in that classroom. Others added that “some aren’t really poor all the time. Some just lost their jobs.” These children know that sometimes illness prevents people from working, and there aren’t enough jobs for all the people. “That can change,” one said. Another added, “but we’re going to help feed them until it does.”

So much insight for such young kids, and yet, another lesson for everyone, regardless of age or circumstances. Some of those kids are living it. Others may some day. But they know people care when people hurt, and these children are intent on setting good examples by doing something about it.