The kids heading up the annual Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) Challenge in teacher Leon Lewandowski’s classroom at Franklin Elementary School brainstormed, produced, and delivered bags of necessities to about 25 homeless women and men in Santa Barbara last month. From bath soap and toothbrushes to granola bars and sleeping bags, Lewandowski’s third and fourth graders rallied fellow students, local businesses, and big corporations for donations, then packed up everything into Sacks of Hope for distribution by Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness.

“The majority of students [at Franklin] live in poverty, are second-language learners, and come from families who have not had the opportunities for higher education,” said Lewandowski, who’s been teaching for 20 years, the last five at Franklin. “Yet these kids have worked all year to help others who are in more need than they are.”

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