After Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas Gulf Coast in late August, students in Paula Wilkins second and third grade class at St. Joseph Catholic School in Paris wanted to do something to help.

Wilkins told class members to go home and think about it. She did too. In the process, she found out about a small school in Channel View, Tex., just east of Houston, that needed help. A third grade teacher at the school sent Wilkins a list of things the classroom needed.

“At St. Joseph, we teach serving others,” Wilkins said last week.

So, the students went to work. They did odd jobs around the church to earn money. With the money, they purchased items the third grade class in Channel View, Tex. needed. Last week, those items were shipped to the Texas school.

“These students helped in the gardens, worked in the church flower beds, helped vacuum and clean around the school,” Wilkins said. “They took all the money they earned and some that was donated and we went to local stores to buy school supplies for that classroom.”

Wilkins said students in that Texas school were only able to get back into class last week.

While the motive was to help others, there were also practical lessons learned, according to St. Joseph Principal Christy Koprovic.

“They took their hard-earned money and went to Walmart and Dollar General to buy more supplies and backpacks, making this service project into a very useful economics lesson for the students,” she said. “They had to plan how they would spend their money as well as compare prices on what would be their best bargain and make their money stretch.”

In the future, Wilkins said the St. Joseph students plan to keep in touch with their Texas counterparts.

“We’re going to try and set up a pen-pal program with them,” she said. “We’ll see what they might need in the future and go from there.”