Tuesday, June 18 2013 3:12 PM EDT2013-06-18 19:12:01 GMT
A Madison County judge set a new trial date for a former Huntsville City Schools teacher's aide charged with sodomy. Madison Police arrested Michael Horton in 2009. Investigators say the abuse happenedMore >>
A Madison County judge set a new trial date for a former Huntsville City Schools teacher's aide charged with sodomy.More >>
GURLEY, AL (WAFF) -
Every week at Madison County Elementary, a group of eighth graders gather at the library – not to check out books – but to cut fabric.
Snip by snip, inch by inch, the students meticulously stitch fleece blankets – each one donning the school's colors, purple and gold.
They're not making these blankets for themselves.
"We have needy kids who really don't have a special blanket. You know how people have that blankie that they cuddle up with on the couch when it gets cold," said Cole Milam.
School officials said Madison County Elementary is a title one school and 64 percent of its students are on the free-and-reduced lunch program.
"We're trying to take care of some basic needs that often get overlooked," teacher Tina Hamlet said.
Hamlet thought of the idea to donate warm blankets for families in need. She said a cozy blanket goes a long way for some families.
So she and her students went straight to work. They collected box tops to pay for blanket materials. Together, they've already made dozens of blankets – each one to be delivered by Christmas.
"We want them to remember that our school made them with love and care," said volunteer Casi McNeal.
The project is fun for the volunteers too. After all, the program is called Blanket Buddies.
"I think it's pretty cool that I can help and be with friends helping," McNeal said.
But even more than giving the gift of warmth, these kids know their fellow classmates just want something to keep for their own.
"People can know that they have their own something," Milam said.
For the teachers, simply watching their students help the community is a joy and a gift in itself.
"It is so refreshing. It's the best word to describe it," Hamlet said.