Dialysis centers are often usually chilly places, and while they often make an attempt at Christmas cheer, it’s not somewhere that anyone wants to be. This might be particularly true in the center at the Veterans Home of Collins in Collins, Missouri. But Tuesday, December 20, a little extra Christmas came to those who live there.

It came in the form of 25 students from Collins High School, bearing the work of their own hands. They brought hand-made blankets and ornaments, nearly 200 gifts.

The project started in Lisa Carter’s quilting class, which meets in the high school’s library. The extracurricular class, which counts as an art credit, originally had low attendance. But when students found out that a large project for charity was underway, more kept coming. Together, they made 30 fleece blankets, and more than 150 quilted ornaments to donate.

Carter, who is often the school librarian, says that the students got no extra credit and no grade for their work on this—it was simple generosity of effort. At least one student has a veteran father, but most have no connection at all to the men and women in the VHC.

Mary McCollum, another teacher involved, said that it was an emotional experience to listen to the students talk as they worked, about wanting these men and women of service to know that they are still appreciated and loved by their communities. They empathized with how easy it might be to feel forgotten, sequestered in a home like that, and hoped their gifts would be a reassurance.

The home has not issued any kind of statement yet, but it’s easy to see that fresh warmth, both emotional and fleece, can only be a joy there. And these students have given themselves something better than gifts for Christmas too; they’ve extended their own roots into the people of their town and their country.