Students at Courtenay school help homeless with gift bags

Students at École Puntledge Park Elementary have brightened the holiday season for some of the less-fortunate citizens of the Comox Valley.

ÉCOLE PUNTLEDGE PARK Elementary students created about 300 gift bags for homeless people in the Comox Valley and Victoria.

Students at École Puntledge Park Elementary in Courtenay have brightened the holiday season for some of the less-fortunate citizens of the Comox Valley.

Students from kindergarten to Grade 7 spent five weeks collecting donations of socks, toques, hats, gloves, toothpaste and toothbrushes for homeless individuals.

“Our kids were responsible for painting the bags, providing the cookies and then they filled the bags after they painted them,” principal Kevin Reimer said.

The initial goal of the Christmas Gift Bag project was 500 hand-painted paper bags. Students wound up stuffing 542 bags with the above necessities. About 300 bags were given to people in the Comox Valley, with the remainder donated to homeless individuals in Nanaimo and Victoria.

“It fit really nicely with what we’re calling our I Can theme for this year,” Reimer said, noting the project was in conjunction with the non-profit group Everybody Deserves A Smile.

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

“It’s been amazing because I’ve seen people downtown walking around with the bags,” Reimer said.

He notes the vice-principal, without identifying herself, commented on a bag when she ran into someone downtown.

“The person said it absolutely made their Christmas,” Reimer said. “It’s so nice to hear.”

The school has received congratulatory phone calls and e-mails from people around the province expressing their gratitude for the bags.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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