Jessica Metzger has been sending her husband weekly care packages since he was deployed to Afghanistan five months ago.
Thanks to the students of the Scioto High School sign language interpreter, 14 care packages will go to John Metzger and others serving in the U.S. Air Force for Christmas.
"I don't know who's more excited, us or them," Metzger said, adding that each time the troops get a package it's like Christmas.
The project came about as a holiday giving project for 20 special needs students at Scioto High School.
"Usually we make Christmas ornaments to send home or cookie jars," said intervention specialist Brian Lange. "We wanted to change it up."
So the classes started collecting nuts, jerky, snacks, Christmas stockings, stationary and other items to send to Sgt. Metzger and others in Afghanistan. The effort was originally going to stay in the two classrooms, but others around the school heard about it and wanted to get involved.
"People were really receptive," Metzger said.
"We were going to fill up a box or two, but before you know it there are 14," Lange said.
Students and their families also included something more personal - letters and Christmas cards.
"Each student wrote a letter and has a picture," Lange said, noting that parents, siblings and grandparents of students also sent cards and letters for the boxes.
Scioto staff has also stepped forward to help out, especially when it came to shipping costs.
"Shipping is $13 per box," Lange said. "I sent an email out and people came pouring in here to get that covered."
Metzger's husband has been in Afghanistan for five months, but will be back in about five weeks. Since 9-11, he has served overseas once a year and Metzger calculated he's served about two and a half years so far.
The care packages, letters and cards will be welcomed.
"It gives them a little taste of home," she said. "There are some things you just can't get from the commissary there."
Along with a chance to do some holiday giving, the project also allowed a little lesson for the students.
"We put pictures on the SmartBoard and talked about it and talked about things like freedom," Lange said.
The care packages don't come completely gratis, though.
"I'm including a self-addressed, stamped envelope," Lange said. "I hope to get something from them."
Metzger is also trying to set up a time for her husband to Skype with the class or come in for a visit when he returns.
"They appreciate what we're doing and my husband is really excited," Metzger said.