A special group of people who are often forgotten on Valentine’s Day were given a sweet surprise by students who wanted to “Share the Love . ”

Kindergarteners in Melanie Miller’s class at Morganton Day School took the initiative on Valentine’s Day to give special gifts to residents at Morganton Long Term facility, a nursing home in the city.

“I was asking the kids what they wanted to do for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “Our whole school has a global theme and we focus on how can we give back to the world around us.”

Emma Halliburton, one of Miller’s students, visits regularly to the nursing home with her family and thought if her class made Valentine’s and gifts , it would cheer them up on the special day, Miller said.

“It became our ' Sharing the Love ' event and the kid’s made them Valentine’s and also gave them a special gift of which was needed by many .

Amber Halliburton, Emma’s mother, suggested to Miller that they also get each resident a plastic container to put personal items or snacks.

“I asked the parents if they could donate plastic containers and snacks to go into the containers,” she said. “We made some especially for those with diabetes and special dietary needs.”

They put together 40 containers for the 40 residents and made their way to the facility on Wednesday to personally deliver the gifts.

“It was the sweetest things and they were giving them hugs and were so excited,” Miller said.

She said the residents were a little surprised because they weren’t sure what was happening.

“The kids started giving them the containers and they really lit up they were very happy and they wanted to give out hugs,” Millers said. “

From what Miller has been told , the residents don’t always have a lot of visitors.

She hopes her students realize that it is not only nice to receive gifts, but to give them as well.

“To kindergarteners , their world is their community (and) that is pretty broad for them, so I wanted them to find a way to take action and give back to the local community,” she said. “They have access to treats all the time, so I wanted them to really experience giving and sharing and putting out some of that love.”

Since the “Sharing the Love” project was such a success, Miller hopes to make it an annual tradition.

For more information about MDS, visit www.morgantondayschool.com or call 828-437-6782.

Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at jbobak@morganton.com or 828-432-8907.

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