MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (WCMH) — Students at Mount Vernon Middle School are putting together more than a hundred care packages for soldiers in Iraq — all in support of their principal serving overseas.

Principal Darin Prince, a member of the Army National Guard, was deployed to Iraq before the school year started.

“He’s missing out on this whole entire school year, and our students and staff miss him so, so much,” said Taryn Brubaker, an art teacher at Mount Vernon Middle School.

To show their appreciation, Brubaker said students and staff originally put together a care package for Prince to ship ahead of the holidays. What was supposed to be a one-off thing quickly snowballed into packing dozens of care packages for the rest of Prince’s brigade.

“One priority box is $23 to ship, and we have raised the money to ship over 100 boxes, as well as fill them,” said Brubaker.

Teachers said it’s all thanks to the students and the Mount Vernon community that they were able to pull off such a feat.

“I wasn’t anticipating we were going to get anything else, and several kids brought in, I mean there were bags and bags of goodies coming in this morning,” said April Thompson, a social studies teacher at Mount Vernon Middle School.

There’s something for everyone in Prince’s brigade — even the war dogs.

One of the school’s top donors, sixth-grader Austin Higgins, has raised hundreds of dollars for supplies for dog handlers and their canines, who are charged with tracking, patrolling, detecting explosives and search and rescue.

“If they have some nice things while they’re there, they’re going to feel really happy,” Higgins said.

It’s a gesture that won’t be lost on these soldiers. Ed Reeves, a Vietnam War veteran and dog handler, said receiving support from back home can make a big difference.

“This is from the kids, it’s from the people, and it’s showing the love, and it’s going to be so greatly appreciated,” said Reeves.

The care packages will be shipped on Monday and are expected to arrive in Iraq before Christmas.