KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- "There's just something special about it. We're a family here," said second grade teacher Amelia Kovac.
That sense of family is what brings teachers and the community together. Every year, they provide a two week supply of food for the students at Mark Twain Elementary while they're gone over winter break.
"Year after year it just grew to become bigger and bigger and bigger," said Kovac.
Several years ago, a teacher at Mark Twain hatched the idea and approached other teachers and volunteers with L3, Love Literacy Life, after realizing their students might not be getting enough food.
That's when Kovac got on board.
"With my neighborhood collections, we're close to almost 4,000 boxes of macaroni," said Kovac.
Kovac and her daughter enlisted the help of their church, Holy Spirit, to hold a macaroni and cheese drive. They also went door-to-door in their neighborhood. She even set out a tub on her porch for donations, and was surprised to see it full day after day.
The thousands of boxes are sitting in her garage.
Her contribution is just a small piece to the puzzle. With the help of churches and other schools, the teachers have gathered thousands of granola bars, oatmeal packets, canned goods, and much more.
Mark Twain is a low-income school where most kids depend on a free lunch.
"Here at school, they're used to getting free lunch and free breakfast every day. It's really hard on families during this time of year when they're trying to use their money to buy gifts, but then don't have the money to buy food at the same time," said Kovac.
But the community is not low on love.
"It's eye opening. It's breathtaking. It makes you feel so good to be a part of this miracle that happens," Kovac said.
There is still time to donate. The teachers are packing up the donations into individual bags on Saturday, Dec. 11 at the school. They'll give them out on Monday afternoon.
McKinley Elementary students will also get a bag full of food.
L3 provides other resources to kids like clothing drives and food drives for spring break, while hosting a summer camp.