HIXSON, TN. (WRCB) -- Second-graders have more than earned a few extra minutes of recess, by gathered the most canned goods for McConnell Elementary School's contribution to Channel 3's "Share Your Christmas" food drive.

But they're getting a larger lesson.

"How important it is to give back," PTA volunteer coordinator Kristin Dotson says. "Especially this time of year."

"So that they get the idea that we're a community," says third grade teacher Rhea Thurman. "That it's not just this classroom or this school, it's bigger."

And personal. Unique. Not unlike snowflakes.

"There's no two snowflakes alike just as there's no two children alike," Thurman explains.

McConnell students have put scissors to paper to join children across the country in "Snowflakes for Sandy Hook," a project of the Sandy Hook Elementary Parent-Teacher Association and the Connecticut Parent-Teacher-Student Association.

Sandy Hook students will return to classes in a different building January 2. But parents know that's only a first step toward helping children heal.

"She's just so afraid of another gunman, or something else bad happening," says Eric Milgrams, father to a Sandy Hook first-grader.

"They wanted to do some kind of student art project to have other students contribute to their new school and it finally came down to a snowflake," CT PTSA's Marne Usher tells Hartford's WFSB-TV.

"It's such a hard thing to fathom, it's such a hard thing to deal with, and to be able to do one small concrete thing just makes such a difference," Usher says.

McConnell's teachers opted not to tell students where their creations are headed.

"They know it's to children not in our community," Thurman says.

"But we felt that subject (the shootings) would be best talked about at home, with family. The families can gauge and judge where their children are, what they need to hear, and how they need to hear it."

Teachers are hopeful that a message unspoken, resonates in ways that words can't.

"They (Sandy Hook's children) will know that somebody else is thinking about them," Thurman says.

"If anybody else were in this situation, they would want the same thing."

McConnell's students have made sure the recipients know their snowflakes came from Tennessee. They're Volunteer orange.

"I hope they think about the (sic) connected-ness," Thurman says.

"And that though something happened that's far away from them, they can feel compassion for somebody outside their realm. And that people cared about them, people cared about us."