Comox Valley students helping needy through ‘very moving program’

Students at a Courtenay school are not only filling bags to help those less-fortunate, but handing them out as well.

From the Comox Valley to Victoria, students at Ḗcole Puntledge Park Elementary in Courtenay are not only filling bags to help those less-fortunate, but handing them out as well.

Students from kindergarten to Grade 7 surpassed their goal of creating 600 bags filled with donations of sockets, scarves, toiletries and more for those living in shelters and on the streets of Vancouver Island.

“It’s a very moving program,” explained Kevin Reimer, principal of the school, which works in conjunction with the non-profit group Everybody Deserves A Smile.

“For our kindergarden kids, it’s about them making to want someone’s Christmas brighter, and for our older kids in Grade 7, you can go a bit deeper and talk about the larger issue of homelessness.”

Last year was the first year of the Christmas Gift Bag project, and students created 542 bags. About 300 bags were given to people in the Comox Valley, with the remainder donated to homeless individuals in Nanaimo and Victoria.

This year, Reimer said rather than just have students fill the bags, he took 10 students to Nanaimo and Victoria Monday to hand them out at two shelters.

“It was a really interesting learning experience,” he noted, and added by having students hand out some of the bags, it allowed them to have another connection to each community.

Chantal Stefan, a former Puntledge student teacher and founder of EDAS, came up with the project idea.

“Chantal prepped (the students) really well. They were a bit nervous at the shelters but only for a few minutes. The anxiety only lasted for a few minutes when they saw they were just regular people,” added Reimer.

“I’m so proud of the kids. They really connected with everyone. It was a really powerful moment.”

Reimer credits the generosity of the community, as nearly 100 per cent of the items inside the hand-painted bags were dropped off by both parents and members of the community.

“We were flooded with donations … many people dropped off items with no connection to the school at all. One woman walked in and dropped off 200 scarves,” he said.

As it is “a big part of the school’s culture,” Reimer added they plan on expanding the program next year.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Oyster River Fire Department hands out awards

Oyster River Fire Rescue held its 2019 Annual Awards Banquet on Jan.… Continue reading

Courtenay church offers free family clothing centre

Every Tuesday afternoon, 1-3 p.m., the Courtenay Fellowship Baptist Church (2963 Lake… Continue reading

Was there a tornado in Courtenay on Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

Record produced by Courtenay’s Doug Cox earns Juno nomination

He worked with fiddler April Verch in Nashville on classic country record

No bears destroyed in Cumberland in 2019

WildSafeBC coordinator updates Village on successes and challenges

Feds preparing plane to fly Canadians out of Wuhan, once China gives OK

160 Canadians have asked for help to leave province at centre of coronavirus outbreak

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for the week of Jan. 28

Beef to loud talkers; bouquet to medical personnel

60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Survey found 77% of workers would leave for better wellness initiatives

Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

CP Rail confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 14.

Police arrest Baby Bear statue thief in Island community

Suspect alleged to be responsible for other crimes in Chemainus, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Alberta

Southern resident orca L41 considered missing and feared dead

The orca was last spotted in August 2019 when photographed in western Strait of Juan de Fuca

‘Critically low’ caribou population prompts wolf cull in the Chilcotin

Itcha-Ilgachuz herd numbers down to 385, from 2,800 in 2003

RCMP to review fatal B.C. train derailment investigation after evidence points to ‘cover up’

The derailment, which occurred on Feb. 4, 2019, killed three men from Calgary

Most Read