Students at two local grade schools were posed with a question.

“If you had $100 to give to a local charity,” the writing prompt began, “who would you give it to and why?”

That was the question asked by the Leavenworth Kiwanis in its annual writing contest.

More than 20 students at St. Paul Lutheran School and Xavier Catholic School participated and submitted short essays.

A panel of six Leavenworth Kiwanis members evaluated the essays and determined the winning essay from each school.

The essays were graded on spelling, grammar, sentence structure and theme.

“Some of them really pulled at your heartstrings,” said Jan Rhoper, one of the organizers of the event.

Rhoper said the students wrote about a wide range of charities.

Kyren Brown, a sixth-grader at St. Paul, and Brock Marshall, an eighth-grader at Xavier, were chosen as winners of this year’s writing contest.

Brown wrote an essay that indicated his donation would go to Backpack Buddies.

“Backpack Buddies is an important charity that donates to kids who don’t have food over the weekends,” Brown wrote. “Lunch at school gives them enough nourishment but when school’s out and/or it’s the weekend … sometimes there isn’t enough food left or they are left starving.”

Marshall wrote that his donation would go to Catholic Charities.

“Catholic Charities is one of the most important charities for the homeless,” Marshalll wrote in the conclusion of his essay. “Many of these people that are homeless could die if they were left out in the cold at night. But Catholic Charities cares enough about God’s people to give them food and shelter. I encourage people to donate some money to this charity. I think this charity is one of the most important in the world. And I think the homeless can agree that it is to them too.”

Representatives of Backpack Buddies and Catholic Charities were on hand Tuesday.

Leavenworth Kiwanis representatives presented $100 checks to the students, who in turn presented the checks to the charity representatives. The students were presented with certificates.

“This writing contest is a way to encourage kids to learn about charities,” Rhoper said.