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10 Rising Hearts: Student makes care packages for people who are homeless

Live at Five at Four showcases students who make our community better.

She's a young lady with a big heart and big plans.

The sixth-grade student wanted to expand on something her church did, making care packages for people who are homeless.

"I have seen some people downtown. It always made me really sad and heart broken," Gracie Waite said.

An after-school assembly line at Cedar Bluff Middle School was the last step in the project Gracie pitched to her teacher before spring break.

"Miss Claxton was a teacher that I felt like I could really trust. And some teachers may be like that's a really great idea and maybe not help with it. Miss Claxton was always helpful and thoughtful and sweet and kind," she said.

Her teacher, Julie Claxton, said, "It was Gracie's idea so by the time she shared it with me I think she was already set on what she wanted to see happen."

It's happening!

"I couldn't have done it without classmates and them being so sweet and bringing stuff in," Gracie said.

They collected mini-water bottles for drinking or teeth brushing, along with combs, toothbrushes, snacks, candy and gum.

Each care package contains something extra: hand-written inspirational cards.

"The cards was just something to make someone's day and make them smile and feel happy and then the Bible verses were just something Miss Claxton and I, we looked up lists of things that would be nice to put in the care packages and that was one of them and we thought that was an amazing idea," Gracie said.

Julie Claxton said, "I've taught school for a lot of years and I've never experienced anything like what I have experienced this year with Gracie coming to me with this pet project idea and this vision."

Gracie's vision is families keeping the care packages in their car's glove compartments to hand out to people in need.

"It would also be a nice way to get to know someone's story and what they've gone through. Not straight up go to what's your story what happened? But just get to know them a little better," she said.

Her teacher said, "I find Gracie to be inspiring and I think that's a really special thing that you can be inspired by someone else and we as adults can get our inspiration from kids."

Gracie Waite is a middle school student with a heart for the homeless.

"I am feeling so excited, so happy!"

We want to showcase students who reach beyond their schools and families to help make our community better. To nominate a student, please send an email describing them and their community service to 10Hearts@wbir.com.

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