NEWS-_Helping_HandsFifty-five first graders at the Chandler School woke up early Thursday morning to create holiday cards and placemats to accompany gifts for seniors in the Duxbury community.

Through Chandler’s community service project, “Helping Hands - Holiday Helpers,” first grade students created holiday cards and decorations for Duxbury senior citizens. They also created placemats to accompany holiday meals for the Meals on Wheels program. Students spent an hour rotation between three stations: one for creating cards, one for creating placemats and one for adding to a mural. Nearly 20 parent volunteers also attended the event and spent the hour wrapping between 50 and 60 presents for senior citizens.

Throughout the month of December, students at Chandler were encouraged to bring in gifts for senior citizens. Acceptable gifts included anything from CDs and large print books to stationery and lap blankets.

Julie Materna, one of the Helping Hands coordinators, said the students were well behaved and invested in their art projects.

“It might have been because it was so early in the morning, but our volunteers were very calm and focused on their holiday projects,” Materna said. “They spent a lot of time on their projects and worked to make them the best they could. It was very sweet.”

Materna and Aimee Spellman are the parent coordinators for the annual event and received helped this year from Chandler teachers Ms. Larkin and Ms. Lamonte. When the coordinators dropped the gifts off at Bay Path Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, they discovered the seniors had spent the month of December collecting toys for tots.

“Ironically, we had spent the month collecting gifts for them, and they had spent the month collecting gifts for children,” Materna said. “It was a great experience for children to learn about community ser- vice and make the holidays a little brighter for our seniors.”