MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Bethel students send care packages to soldiers

It’s time of year when packages are being sent all over the world.

This year, there are some special boxes from Chattanooga packed by local kids for military service members.

The children at Bethel Bible Village says it is their way of showing they care.

“People do things to help us so we need to help them too,” one of the students told Channel 3.

Patricia Ball has worked at Bethel for nearly 30 years. She has dedicated her life to making sure the children there can have a better life someday.

“This is one of the most rewarding ways that I could spend my life. Pouring into these children and preparing families to have their kids back at home with them,” she told Channel 3.

During her career, she's seen a lot of kids come through the doors at Bethel. She keeps in touch with many of them, including a former student who went through the teen mom program.

“We have stayed connected with her and she has shared her life and her life's journey since she's been away,” said Ball.

Now a married mother of three, the woman told ball her husband would be deployed overseas during the holidays.

“She was sharing that she would really like to make sure that he gets lots of care packages while he's away so that he would know he's not forgotten,” said Ball.

Inspired by their story, Ball and the students at Bethel decided to do something to honor him.

Each year around this time they select a service project to teach the kids about giving back.

“They’ve served hot chocolate to the firemen or they have made cookie boxes and taken them to the police department. They have served in the domestic violence shelter,” continued Ball.

This year their project has a connection to one of their own.

The kids are packing boxes filled with the comforts of home to send to the husband's entire platoon.

"I want them to know when people think about you to bring something to you, you always have to think about how you can give something in return.” Ball told Channel 3.

The students are also showing their appreciation for the service members through uplifting messages on handwritten cards they’re sending.

“Just nice things like thank you for your service, we appreciate what you're doing for our country and stay strong during the holidays and we'll be keeping you in our prayers,” a student told Channel 3.

The most requested items are things that can fit in service members' pockets, like candy and snacks, so they can carry them around.

Everything inside of the care packages was either donated or the kids used their own money to buy it.

They are a beautiful young couple and he said to me, Ms. Pat I can't believe that you wanted to do this, that Bethel wanted to do this for us and I told him you guys have tried so hard to get your life on track,” she said.

A small act of kindness to honor a former Bethel resident's husband and make Christmas a little brighter.

“I wanted us to be able to support them and I wanted them to be assured that they are not alone that we love them and we always will,” said Ball.