Each month the Belmonte Middle School sixth grade Alcott Team sends out a care package to a U.S. Air Force platoon. And that’s on top of the weekly newsletter the students create for the military personnel to remind them that their service is appreciated.

Sixth-graders on Team Alcott brought in candy that will be shipped out this week to an Air Force platoon stationed in Dubai. Bags of Starbursts, Swedish fish and mints — among other treats with some healthier granola bars thrown in for good measure — were piled high on a table in Kim Martino’s class waiting to be boxed up.

“It looks like we might have four boxes this time,” Martino exclaimed.

Sixth-grader Owen Keefe chimed in that it’s a good thing the candy wasn’t chocolate because it would probably melt in scorching Dubai before the soldiers could eat it.

This marks the second consecutive year teacher Martino has organized a grassroots effort for students to “adopt” a platoon. The goal was to encourage the sixth-graders to think about the importance of getting involved in the community and giving back.

Over the past few months the 20 or so members of the Air Force platoon have received cookies, stocking stuffers, tambourines, cards and other snacks from their Belmonte benefactors.

Alcott Team sixth-graders also put together a weekly newsletter in which they let the Air Force members know about the latest developments at Belmonte Middle School.

The Air Force servicemen and servicewomen showed their appreciation by sending the students a message that expressed thanks for the care packages and newsletters.

Sixth-grader Lucas Silvano said he was happy to be able to help the Air Force military personnel serving overseas.

“I think that sometimes people don’t fully appreciate what soldiers do for us,” Silvano said. “We want to do something to thank them for their hard work.”

Fellow student Nina Penachio expressed hope that the care packages will make the Air Force platoon members feel more at home when they open them.

Sixth-grader Maximus Iturrondo told the Advertiser it’s incredible that a group of middle school students can send care packages to an Air Force platoon that is halfway across the world.

“It’s important to show the solders that we appreciate their bravery,” Iturrondo said, adding that it was “amazing” to see the thank you message from the platoon.

Student Ceejay Avonratts said that unfortunately sometimes the sacrifices that soldiers make are taken for granted. The care packages are a way of the sixth-graders letting those in the platoon know they value what they are doing for the country, he said.

Martino was impressed at how Team Alcott rallied to support the care package initiative.

“It’s an amazing thing they are doing,” Martino said. “They’ve really gotten behind it and I’m so proud of them.”