Pura Vida for Children is a local non-profit organization that invites the community to gather around the issue of helping children who have been exploited or abandoned. For the past three years the students of the Pura Vida club of New Canaan High School have been creating ways to make a difference for good in the lives of children.

For the past ten days, pairs of moms, teens, kids, friends and dads have braved the cold weather to create festive greenery and red bows on over 240 mailboxes.

One club mom, Lora Boniface, initiated the fundraiser after participating in a similar project in Atlanta. This was the club's second year to deck the town.

The process began in late October when groups of moms gather in homes around coffee and tea, or wine and cheese, given the time of day, to make new friends while creating big, red bows out of ribbon and wire.

Next, the e-mail blasts are sent out and orders are placed online with Christine Betack, another dedicated mom and member of the Pura Vida team.

The week before Thanksgiving the lists are divided up between volunteers who go out in pairs the next week to complete the beautiful results.

The proceeds this year will go toward the food-packing event which takes place May 21 and 22 in the NCHS cafeteria. So far, the funds from this project will pay for enough ingredients to package almost 43,000 meals to be sent to feed starving children.

"I had no idea how much fun this project would be," said Allison Wolter, a local mom of young children who attend Pura Vida's summer sports camp. "I've gotten to know some awesome women while getting inspired for the holidays. If that's not enough, there's the added joy of knowing this will benefit children who desperately need it."

Last May, the club took on the challenge of recruiting 500 volunteers, including families, sports teams, college students, scouts and youth groups, and raised $17,000 to pay for ingredients to package 107,000 meals. Pura Vida has begun a partnership with `Feed My Starving Children,' an organization that is committed to providing food to places where starvation is prevalent.

This May, the club hopes to double the number of meals packaged and looks forward to a great weekend of fun, community-building work toward a very deliberate and urgent goal; feeding those who are hungry.

Thanks to the participation, work and generosity of New Canaan families and teens, they might reach their goal.