Megan Turak said it started out with pillows and a poster board—students at Moon Area High School were to sign the items and send them to troops serving in Afghanistan.
"But the outpouring of support that came from the students was just incredible," Turak said. "I was just amazed, really, by the students' support and the depth of their understanding."
Turak, of the Scott-Township based Military Family Network, said students in the district went above and beyond, gathering donations for a care package to the troops and penning more than 200 letters, sent to soldiers serving at Forward Operating Base Sharana in central-eastern Afghanistan.
The soldiers opened the care package on Dec. 16, when they celebrated at the base with a small Christmas party.
"They are in combat outposts," Turak said. "They have more limited resources, which is why those letters are so important."
Last month, members of the Army Education Center told representatives from the Military Family Network that troops at the Sharana base planned to host a holiday celebration.
The base's remote location often disrupts supply lines, Turak said.
"So when they receive letters, messages of support, it really matters," Turak said.
The Military Family Network reached out to social studies and history teachers in the region, including those at Moon Area High School, where staff members and students went to work prepping care packages and letters for the troops.
"From someone who does this for a living and raises awareness of the needs of military families, the conceptualization of this program and the outreach from these students was incredible," Turak said.
Turak said simply writing letters is a meaningful way to provide support to deployed soldiers.
"Acts of kindness," Turak said. "It can be as simple as starting a letter writing campaign. Or even reaching out to a neighbor, a family that has someone currently deployed."