'From the heart, they did it': Students fund-raise for lunches for the less fortunate
Handmade lunches for the less fortunate bought and packed by McKee students. (John Hanson/CTV News Edmonton)
EDMONTON -- A belated Valentine's Day gesture for the less fortunate on Friday as 25 Grade 2 students from Edmonton’s McKee School assembled bagged lunches at the Mustard Seed Community Centre.
The kids made whole grain sandwiches including veggies, a decorated cookie, a juice box and handmade valentines. The lunches were carefully packed into brightly coloured brown bags to be given out to needy inner city residents.
Teacher Carol Anne Lund began the tradition 10 years ago as part of the social studies curriculum, and is touched with how the idea continues to be embraced by the young people.
"They wanted people in Edmonton to know that somebody cares about them," she told CTV News Edmonton.
"Regardless of what their situation is, that there were people in Edmonton that cared about them, and they wanted to be part of that."
The final product, a result of many days of fundraising effort by students.
"These guys actually raise the money rather than getting food donations," Lund says. "We host a cake walk in our school and all the students participate and they use the money to buy all the groceries."
The kind gesture seems to come naturally to the young volunteers.
"I feel good about doing something kind to the people," student Sarah Zumit exclaimed. "We’re giving food to the homeless people so if they don’t have enough money to buy any groceries or food, we made food for them and they can come to the Mustard Seed and eat!"
Grade 2 teacher Marlee Hutchins says the 150 lunches help people get a solid meal, but gives her students an even more important life lesson.
"The kids start to build more empathy to people around them and people that may have more needs than they do, and can’t always have those needs met," she said. "We come here and put all the sandwiches together and its a great way for the students to take part in volunteering in their community."
Student’s hand-written messages on the lunch bags lets recipients know they’re loved by kids they’ve never even met. You Are Special and You Matter, Have a Great Day, were among the sentiments.
Lund knows the kid’s motivation for this annual event is heartfelt when she looks at the Valentine cards student make and include in every bag.
"The Valentines are adorable," she whispers out of earshot of busy students. "If you read them, they’d bring a tear to your eye. From the heart, they did it."