Students at Stelly’s Secondary School spent the month of December collecting basic food items to put into hampers that would be distributed to approximately 25 families in the community.
Each classroom was given a list of pantry staples that would help take some of the financial pressure off a family of four for a week during the holidays, such as flour, sugar, peanut butter, coffee or tea and cereal, along with many other items.
Colin Montgomery, youth and family counsellor at Stelly’s, says even if families don’t need all the items in the hampers, it’s a way to help subsidize some small costs during the holidays, freeing up some money for other things such as Christmas gifts.
Within each of the hampers is a note that asks receiving families to pass along anything they might not need, something Montgomery says is done to help normalize the giving hand.
“We don’t really see the needs in our community, people are good at hiding their struggles and making [life] look good,” he says. “This is a way to help out in a small, tangible way.”
Stelly’s has been putting the hampers together for over 10 years.
Montgomery says they used to focus on canned goods during this time of year, but after finding out the food banks are usually bare during the spring, Stelly’s switched their can drive to early next year.
Along with putting together hampers, the school also collected lightly used or new clothing to donate to shelters in the area.
“It gives [students] a good, tangible way of feeling like they’re giving back and participating in connecting to the community,” says Montgomery.