Kids make special Christmas delivery to Edmonton's homeless community
Published Monday, December 17, 2012 11:55AM MST
Last Updated Monday, December 17, 2012 7:15PM MST
More than 100 students made a special Christmas delivery in Edmonton’s inner-city on Monday morning.
The kids from George H. Luck Elementary School were bussed to Boyle Street Community Services to deliver backpacks filled with warm clothes and care items for the city’s less-fortunate.
“It’s the only Christmas present I get,” said Deryle Forrest, who is homeless, and uses Boyle Street Community Services.
Forrest says he looks forward to the annual backpack delivery every year.
“They’re beautiful,” he said. “To do this for us, they’re beautiful.”
It was student Lauren Kobi’s second time delivering backpacks to the centre and she says the gesture is appreciated.
“I think they’re really happy that we can come,” she said. “I think they really appreciate it.”
It’s the school’s own version of Santa’s workshop – with students, staff and parents collecting and assembling the ‘backpacks of luck’ for homeless Edmontonians over the course of December.
The backpacks include items like mittens, socks, shampoos, toothpaste, candy and Christmas cards.
It’s a program that means a lot to those who use Boyle Street Community Services.
“This is one of the highlights of our year. It really shows to our community that people out there care,” said Julian Daly, executive director with the centre.
“What’s more Christmassy than hundreds of school children giving up their pocket money to buy backpacks and things that homeless people need for the winter. That means so much to people, it says they’re not forgotten, it says that people care, it says that people want to give up something of theirs to give to them at this time of year.”
During delivery day, students passed the backpacks down a line, while singing Christmas carols.
“It’s a very personal experience. They bring the backpacks themselves, they also sing, you’ll see when people are singing there are often tears coming down people’s eyes,” Daly said.
“Many of our community here that we serve are disconnected from their children, maybe have lost their children or can’t be with them at Christmas so when these children come in, that’s really a special experience and connects them with kids which is really meaningful.”
Over the last six years, 2,900 ‘backpacks of luck’ have been given by George H. Luck students to needy Edmontonians.
“They have a sense of pride that they know they can make a difference to their community, to their city, and this is their way of doing it together, said Linda Inglis, principal of George H. Luck School.
“They learn that it is important for us to care, and care for those who need care at this time of year but throughout the year and it’s their way of connecting with everyone in their community and making a difference.”
With files from Ashley Molnar