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Warm hearts and hands on a cold day

Willmar seventh- and eighth-grade students who are part of a program called On Track delivered 38 handmade blankets Wednesday to residents at Bethesda.

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Shelna Lu, 13, gives a homemade fleece blanket to Hazel Allen Wednesday during a visit with residents at Bethesda in Willmar. Seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Willmar Middle School's "On Track" program made the blankets as part of their curriculum where they learn life-skills, job skills, and volunteer their time and services to others. Carolyn Lange / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — With the temperature barely getting above zero Wednesday, the 38 fleece blankets that were given to residents at Bethesda were welcome gifts.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students, who are part of the Willmar Middle School’s On Track program, delivered the hand-tied blankets during brief visits to residents’ rooms.

The residents responded with laughs, big smiles and words of praise for the students.

The program, which is part of the students' regular curriculum, teaches life and job skills and also includes opportunities to volunteer their time and services.

During the year, the 13 students learn about financial literacy, careers and perform “random acts of kindness,” said instructor Julie Pieper. The students have cooked a meal for school staff prior to part-teacher conferences, visited the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter and next month will plan a food drive for the Kandiyohi County Food Shelf.

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Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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