Land O' Lakes student asks for books for classmates instead of Christmas presents this yearSubmitted: 01/16/2017
Story By Mary O'Connell

Land O' Lakes student asks for books for classmates instead of Christmas presents this year
LAND O' LAKES - Many kids asked for video games, iPads, or other toys for Christmas this year. But for one Land O' Lakes Elementary student, the holiday wasn't about what he could get, but what he could give back to his fellow classmates.

Chris Hunt, a 9-year-old from Land O' Lakes, always has his nose in a book. But being able to read every night just wasn't enough. Chris wanted to share his passion with everyone.

"Every single night I was wondering, 'How much fun would it be to have every kid in my school have a book that they want so they can read it?'" said Chris, a fourth-grader. 

Chris decided that instead of receiving Christmas gifts this year, all he wanted was for people to give him books that he could turn around and give away. 

"I already have a lot of cool toys that I like," Chris said. "So I just wanted to have somebody else have something, not just me."

It was a simple idea: one book for each of the 80 kids at Land O' Lakes Elementary. But how does a 9-year-old get that many books all on his own? 

"He can't, at 9 years old, you know, do it himself," said Lisa Hunt, Chris's mom. "So he asked friends and family to ask them to help him out with that versus giving him Christmas gifts and more toys and things that he didn't really need."

That's when the texts, calls, and books starting coming in.

"I thought we were only going to get the average amount of kids that are in this school, but next thing you know, I got 181 books," Chris said. 

During their normal lunch time at school last week, as kids sat down to eat, they found out they'd get a little food for thought too.

"I'm just so excited about not only his act of kindness and idea to share for others, but how it'll kind of motivate and inspire others to do something similar," said Land O' Lakes Elementary School Principal Carie Brock. 

The best gift of all for Chris was to look out and see his gifts in the hands of his friends. Giving a surprise, while still getting all he wanted in return.

"I saw some smiles on their faces, when they actually read, so that was really cool," he said.

All the extra books that Chris collected through his book drive will go to the students at the charter school or serve as new classroom books for his classmates. 

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