Pine Tree High School Interact Club sponsors Tiffany Caldemeyer and Susan Curtis want their students to learn how it feels to help others without expecting anything in return.

So the service club is collecting items to donate to COVID-19 patients and nurses at Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center-Longview and Longview Regional Regional Medical Center.

Students, staff members and anyone in the community can stop by the high school to drop off items through Friday.

Curtis said for nurses, the club is asking for pre-packaged and individualized snacks, candy and drinks to drop off at nursing stations. For the patients, the club is requesting activity books, pencils, snacks, playing cards and extension cords to charge their phones.

“Anything to keep them occupied so they’re not so much focused that they’re by themselves and not able to see their family in there,” she said. “Anything to try to make it less lonely.”

Caldemeyer said the English teachers have made it a competition to see who can collect the most items.

Once everything is collected, the students in the club will assemble the donations in bags and buckets to drop off, she said.

Although they just started collecting Monday, Caldemeyer said she expects donations to pick up.

“It’s been a slow start, but the English teachers, we’re really good at supporting each other,” she said. “So some of us are turning it into a competition between each other just to increase the participation.”

About 25 students are in the club, which is a high school service branch of the Rotary Club of Longview, and Curtis said the students were excited for the project when it was announced.

“So many of our students and our staff have had loved ones in the hospital in that situation, that’s kind of been like the driving force for us,” she said. “To see how quickly they started coming up with the ideas is great.”

The club aims to teach students about giving back, even if they already do so through church or other school groups, Curtis said.

“So many children are so focused on just themselves that it’s nice to see that they are thinking of others and getting those ideas, those thoughts out there for what it’s like to help someone without expecting something in return,” she said.

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Kristen is the News-Journal's education reporter. A Longview native, she got a journalism degree and a graduate certificate at Texas Tech University. She covers a variety of issues, including school finance, board meetings and happenings at local schools.