By TYLER DAWSON
Students at G.H. Dawe School in Red Deer have gathered enough food and household essentials to help 21 local families through the holidays.
Thanks to donations from local businesses, they were also able to provide Christmas gifts for people in the community.
Stacked up outside the school office are piles of goods, waiting to be packed into boxes and distributed.
Seventeen Grade 7 and 8 students in the leadership class spearheaded the initiative, which has been in planning since September.
They spent evenings, early mornings and lunch hours working on the project.
Jenna Romaniw, 12, said that each classroom had a hamper to fill with donations. As it turned out, some classes needed more than a hamper.
“Grade 6s had a whole table full, like, overflowing,” Shania Capner, 13, said this week.
Before the holiday hampers are sent out around the community, one final item will be added: a turkey.
Students first held a food drive last year, but expanded it this year to include gifts.
Bev Wilibnisky, an education assistant with the school, said they really pushed the community to show their support this season.
And they community has come through. Donations from AES Industrial Supplies, Windsor Plywood and STEP Energy Services were spent in a shopping spree for enough toys for 68 individuals.
A group of students went to Walmart, Wilibnisky said, and it took more than an hour to get through the checkout with seven carts of presents.
The students in the Leadership class were enthusiastic about the work they’d done.
Kade Hannett, 13, said that some families faced difficulties during the holiday seasons, and this was a way to help out.
“It was tiring but rewarding and fun. Not money, but soul rewarding,” said Eve Routley, 12.
“It’s been an amazing project, and they’ve worked really, incredibly hard,” said teacher Gwen Dawes Harker.