HOUSTON Local students paid their respects to the 9/11 victims by helping those in need. Students from YES Prep from the West, Hoffman and Fifth Ward locations were sifting, sorting and packing cans, bottles and boxes of food to provide their own day of service.

To me, 9/11 is live a day of the terrorists with their hatred and they showed it off. And so to work here on this day means to me as if I m packing those boxes for those people who couldn t survive that day, said Taquory Johnson, 7th grade student.

Another student, Neftali Reynosa, wanted to help with unfinished business in a way.

To me, I m honoring the people that were working in the Twin Towers the day they died and what they were doing. Like they didn t get to finish things and I m here to help finish what they were doing to the world, Reynosa said.

The kids chose to give back by volunteering and preparing meals for Houston s less fortunate.

It feels good because I m helping people in a way, said Jacob Valles.

The students are also learning lessons.

I learn about like how grateful I am to be able to have the things that I have, Johnson said.

The Houston Food Bank says the kids helped sort 14,000 meals for families in need. But for some students, their work was more personal.

Honestly, when I m packing those boxes, I think What if it was me? How I would like people to do my things for me and about how it feels to not have things and do it the correct way, Johnson said.

The kids do service projects every six weeks. It is part of YES Prep s curriculum. But all agree, they feel special by doing great things in the community.

It s great helping people that you don t know and who need it very much, said Aquariua Ross, a sixth grader. I just feel happy and excited that I can do this and help everyone eat and everything.

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