The giving spirit is alive and well in Maple Ridge — Pitt Meadows School District No. 42 this holiday season.
Students and teachers have been busy organizing toy drives, food hampers and school-spirit events as they count down the days to winter break.
“I appreciate the effort and donations from our school community,” said Cheryl Schwarz, the principal of Pitt Meadows Secondary. “The opportunity for students to give to others helps them recognize that they are part of a larger extended community and they have the ability to make a difference through acts of kindness.”
At PMSS, Natasha Carlos led a “giving-back” initiative toy drive, while students from across the school participated in a holiday food drive.
Staff at Samuel Robertson Technical collected more than 60 toys for the Christmas Bureau, while students held a Coins for Kids campaign and went class-to-class collecting food donations.
“We do this yearly,” said SRT vice principal Michelle Allen. “Our students learn that giving back is an important part of this season and acknowledging others in the community.”
Maple Ridge Secondary’s Aboriginal Leadership Team held a Holiday Toy Drive that saw students bring toys to people in need. Meanwhile, the school’s Festive Food Drive raised more than 1,000 items and $470 for the Friends in Need Food Bank.
The district’s younger students have also been getting in on the festive giving.
Laity View Elementary students Declan (Grade 2) and Holden (Grade 4) collected donations for what they are calling Toy Mountain.
The siblings decided to kick-off the toy drive in lieu of their family’s annual Christmas party, which was cancelled this year because of COVID-19 physical-distancing restrictions. The toys will go to children in need.
Davie Jones Elementary students collected coins and food for vulnerable families, while Golden Ears Elementary’s food drive brought in more than 7,275 donations as well as socks, mittens, toques and scarves people in need.
At Eric Langton Elementary and Maple Ridge Elementary, students crafted personalized holiday greeting cards for people living in long-term care facilities.
While schools have been busy giving back to the community, the community has also been busy giving back to the schools.
Shoppers Drug Mart raised $725 for students in need at Highland Park Elementary, funds that will be used for helping vulnerable families. The school also receives supports from Stirring Church and VRC Church.
“The donations will help multiple families have a better holiday this year,” said HPE principal Nicole Neggers. “Our motto at Highland Park is ‘Together We Soar.’ I think this is pretty fitting for a time like this where we can wrap our support around families in need in Pitt Meadows.”