McKINNEY It's almost Christmas, and in a lot of elementary schools across the country that means holiday parties.

But not at Walker Elementary School in McKinney, where big-hearted students have decided to take up Rachel's Challenge.

At a glance, it looks like the kids are opening gifts. But look closely, and you'll see they are wrapping them and not to give one another.

We are giving to SPCA, Vega and the soldiers, explained 5th grader McKinley Tyler. To the soldiers we're giving like ChapStick and sunscreen, and to Vega we're giving canned food, and for SPCA we're giving feeding bowls.

Those soldiers are our troops overseas. They gets gifts and letters handwritten by Walker students.

The canned goods go to families at Vega Elementary School, where some of the students are not as fortunate as the youngsters here.

And it doesn't end with the giving.

We will have community circle time, where they will get a chain link for their act of service today and discuss what giving means to them, said PTA president Trysh Pope.

It's an exercise in character building. Thinking about others is a key to Rachel's Challenge, encouraging young people to commit acts of kindness and make a difference.

We've been talking a lot about differences and no bullying this year, and accepting of everyone's difference and the things that everyone has to contribute, said fifth grader Landry Argabright. It makes be feel good about giving and helping others.

Character building starts early at Walker Elementary, but these students will be running the country some day. They prove it's never too soon to learn you can help others and have a little fun.

WFAA has teamed up with the Rachel's Challenge program. More than 100 North Texas schools are involved in encouraging acts of kindness.


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