LIMA — Chocolate dripped from pretzel rods, and sprinkles scattered everywhere. It’s been a messy few days for Independence Elementary School second graders as they produce a couple hundred chocolate-covered pretzels to benefit the local Empty Stocking program. “It kind of makes me feel sad that kids don’t really get what they want and they barely get something for Christmas,” said 8-year-old Darian Elford, who had already purchased six. The pupils sold the pretzels during lunch this week and to parents attending a sing-along event Tuesday at the school. Money raised will go to Empty Stocking, a collaboration between The Lima News, Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army.The pupils, some in Santa and reindeer hats, worked in small groups Tuesday, paying pretty close attention to their work. The assembly line halted for a few seconds when they spotted Santa in the hallway. The school’s four second-grade classes are learning about economics, specifically goods and services. Teachers wanted to add a community service component, said teacher Elizabeth Bollinger. Last year, the project benefit Angels for Animals. Teachers have been sharing the Empty Stocking stories that appear daily in The Lima News.“Just to really make them understand how fortunate they are and that there are people out there that have less than we do,” Bollinger said. “They are just floored that there are kids out there that don’t have anything. It makes them really appreciate what they have.”Ben Sneary, 7, already bought eight pretzels before he even made his own. He said the Empty Stocking stories make him sad, especially thinking of children with no food or Christmas presents. He asked Santa for $1 million. “And if I ever got $1 million,” he said. “I would be giving it to the Empty Stocking fund.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.