WEST JORDAN, Utah -- When Mindy Jackson heard Utah National Guard troops would be spending the holidays away from family, she told her students about an idea.
"They were on board from the beginning," said Jackson, a fourth- through sixth-grade teacher at Heartland Elementary.
For the next two weeks, student council members went classroom by classroom collecting candy, books, and games: things they heard soldiers liked.
"We collected candy, and hygiene stuff," said Student Council President Aiden Berg, as he points to a crowded table of gifts for soldiers.
The gifts, intended for National Guardsmen in Afghanistan, was an idea inspired by Technical Sgt. Dusty Littleford when he visited the school a few weeks ago.
"I've been gone over the holidays, away from my wife and kids," Littleford said. "Getting letters and trinkets means a lot."
Not long after the drive started, the gifts started piling in.
"I saw how much stuff there was," said Jensen Underwood, a fifth grader on the student council. "It was amazing."
In addition to the gifts, the students had written more than 200 letters.
"You read the letters, usually it's the first thing you do," said Littleford of opening the packages. "There are guys that will keep those letters forever."
After collecting all the gifts, the students had planned to send them out this week. That's when they got the bad news.
The company who had offered to ship it to Afghanistan didn't realize they would collect 300 pounds of gifts. Turns out, that kind of weight costs about $3,000 to send.
"It's just kind of heartbreaking," Underwood said upon hearing the news.
The school posted a Go Fund Me page Monday night in hopes that they can raise enough money to ship the items soon, so troops can get them by Christmas. The link to the page is https://www.gofundme.com/heartlandelem.
"Please help us, we really do want to get this there," Jackson pleaded. "We want the troops to know that people back home are thinking about them."