Fifth graders, Grace Bouchard and James Seymour, work together to cut wrapping paper to fit each gift on Thursday morning. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

Seventh grader Jack Derosier thinks giving is better than getting. So he and 19 students from All Saints Catholic School put that maxim into action Thursday morning at the Phillips-Strickland House in Bangor.

Called “Project North Pole,” each grade from the school, preschool through eighth grade, collected items such as toothpaste, shampoo, pencils and mirrors — typically items the 47 residents of the senior living facility would have to buy themselves. The students then wrapped the items up and put them into stockings for the residents.

Linda Nickerson, activity director at Phillips-Strickland, started collecting donations back in September and gave the school a list of things the residents needed. She said All Saints and its students collected 90 percent of items, with donations also coming from Phillips-Strickland staff, volunteers and Machias Savings Bank.

Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik

This is the second year the students have done this project, Principal Matthew Houghton said. After students stuffed residents’ stockings, the school chorus stopped by the residence later Thursday afternoon to carol for the residents, something they have done for the past 10 years.

Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

The event coincided with the season of Advent, a season of preparation for Christmas.

“There’s love and joy for the community in this joyous season of anticipation,” Houghton said. “They’re creating another anticipation with gifts.”

The stockings will be hung in the residents’ rooms on Christmas. Nickerson said the presents are a pleasant surprise for residents, some of whom have no family members with whom they can spend the holiday. It is also a special moment for the students to think about their “senior friends” whom they have helped for the holiday, she said.

“It’s really nice that we can help the elders in the community,” Derosier said. “Sometimes I’m stressed, and it makes me relaxed to think they will open a gift I helped with.”