School project helps disadvantaged, homeless

Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) is a grassroots, registered not-for- profit organization founded by Chantal Stefan.

SOME OF THE packages prepared in 2012 by students as part of the EDAS project at École Puntledge Park Elementary School.

SOME OF THE packages prepared in 2012 by students as part of the EDAS project at École Puntledge Park Elementary School.

Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) is a grassroots, registered not-for- profit organization founded by Chantal Stefan 10 years ago to help the disadvantaged and homeless members of the community.

During those 10 years, EDAS has helped more than 4,000 people who live on the street. This year, hundreds of students across Vancouver Island will collect donated items and packing hand-painted bags that will be distributed to more than 1,000 people at 25 soup kitchens, shelters and support groups.

Six hundred care packages for the Comox Valley will be created by the students of École Puntledge Park Elementary. These packages will be put together by students from kindergarten to Grade 7 on Dec. 12 and 13 as a school project.

Each will be in a painted bag that will include clothing and personal hygiene items, a card written by the students and some decorated cookies. A total of 370 care packages will be delivered in the Comox Valley to the Transition Society, the Wachiay Friendship Centre, the Sunshine Soup Kitchen, the Foursquare Church, the Aids Society, and on the streets. A total of 130 will go to Victoria and 100 to East Hastings in Vancouver.

In all, 355 men, 225 women and 10 little boys and 10 little girls will benefit from the project.

Dropoff locations for donations in the Comox Valley are open Nov. 1 to Dec. 9  at Cumberland Junior School, First Credit Union Cumberland, Cumberland Recreation Centre, École Puntledge Park Elementary School and the Comox Community Centre.

Donations of new woollen socks, toques, mitts, scarves, toothbrushes, tooth paste and cash are being sought. Cheques should be made to Everybody Deserves A Smile or EDAS.

The EDAS care packaging project is running in six other school districts and communities across the Island: Campbell River, Port Alberni, Nitinhat, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Victoria and in Kamloops.

— Everybody Deserves a Smile

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