HARLAN -- Randi Miller and her fiance', Frank Daniels, decided to do something special for the schoolchildren in Kosovo.
They've been apart for months while Frank serves with the 1st Batallion 635th Armor Army National Guard out of Kansas, stationed in Kosovo. And Frank has seen firsthand what the schoolchildren there lack from their western counterparts.
"We wanted to do something together, and help people less fortunate than we are," said Miller, an English teacher at Harlan Community High School. "In conversations with him, we just wanted to make a connection with each other being so far apart, and we came up with this."
This, is Crayons for Kosovo.
For the past month, students, teachers and local businesses have donated crayons and other supplies to be shipped overseas to Daniels, who will distribute the items to the schoolchildren in Kosovo. Boxes of the items went out in the mail last week.
Miller said from the time she and Frank decided to do something, people stepped up to the plate with donations.
"We have well over 150 boxes of crayons, pencils, rulers, construction paper and stencils," said Miller. Teachers and students have chipped in, as well as local businesses including Variety Distributors, who "donated quite a lot," said Miller. The Shelby CountyVFW and Ladies Auxiliary Post #941 offered to pay shipping and mailing costs.
"Frank has seen how underprivileged the kids are there," said Miller. "He sees what they don't have, and they idolize the American soldiers. We thought this was a good way to connect and help."
Miller said although the first boxes have been mailed, she hopes to keep the project going through December. She'll continue to send items as they are donated.
"This will be an ongoing project," she said. "We'd love to have anyone who wants to donate to feel free."
Miller can be reached at Harlan Community High School, 712-755-3101.