Left - Grade 7 student, Zan Oliphant, and his team members put up the Everybody Deserves a Smile bulletin board at École Puntledge Park to launch this year’s campaign. Top right, a beautifully designed bag. Bottom right, a student works on a message of hope. Photos supplied.

Left - Grade 7 student, Zan Oliphant, and his team members put up the Everybody Deserves a Smile bulletin board at École Puntledge Park to launch this year’s campaign. Top right, a beautifully designed bag. Bottom right, a student works on a message of hope. Photos supplied.

Comox Valley students help the homeless through Everybody Deserves a Smile

Marcie Dumais

Special to the Record

Students in 20 schools throughout the Comox Valley are learning about important social issues through the 18th annual Everybody Deserves a Smile (EDAS) campaign.

Children at participating schools get the opportunity to decorate large envelopes, create handmade cards, and write caring messages to people who can really benefit from heartfelt youth engagement. Through innovative curriculum and instruction, students also get to see how their small acts of kindness collectively make a big difference to people who experience homelessness or poverty.

Led by a special student leadership club and a group of teachers at École Puntledge Park, beautifully decorated “envelopes of love” filled with woolen socks, toques, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, sugar cookies, and a handmade card will be provided to 1,270 people in the middle of December. A total of 878 care packages will be delivered locally through 15 partnering support agencies. The remaining will go to people living in the streets and in shelters in Victoria and Vancouver.

Zan Oliphant (12 years old) describes his motivation to get involved in the EDAS leadership club.

“I decided to join EDAS to give back to the community that I mostly grew up in, to expand as a leader, and to grow as a team player,” he said.

Oliphant believes strongly in the work and sees EDAS as having an important role in raising awareness, particularly about issues that are otherwise hidden.

“Sometimes we see something upsetting and we don’t know how to help or how to change it,” said Oliphant. “I think sharing information about EDAS provides everyone in the community an opportunity to help so they can be part of making things better.”

In consideration of continued COVID precautions, the EDAS team is asking for cash donations instead of the traditional collection of garments. Donations will facilitate the bulk purchase of warm socks and toques, personal care products, and cookies. They invite all donors to include a heartfelt message in the memo of the cheque or in the message box of the e-transfer which will be passed along to recipients.

E-transfers can be sent to theedasproject@gmail.com (no password required) or cheques can be made out to Everybody Deserves a Smile or EDAS and mailed to 1168A Joshua Place, Courtenay BC, V9N 8Y6.

For more information, see edas.ca or facebook.com/edasproject

ALSO: 2020 EDAS campaign exceeds expectations

Community LeadershipComox Valley