'Above and beyond': ELC students gift the spirit of Christmas for families in need

Six Fort St. John families will wake up and unwrap the spirit of Christmas on Monday.

Students from the Energetic Learning Campus have been busy elves over the last several weeks, collecting cash, gift, and hamper donations that were paid forward to six sponsor families this year, three each through the Women’s Resource Society and the North Peace Pregnancy Care Centre.

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“This year, I think kids understand Christmas is more about giving,” teacher Jerrick Salinas said.

Each family received a turkey, groceries with all the fixings, treats, and more, along with $850 in gift cards, and gift-wrapped presents tailored to the size and needs of the family.

All 219 students of the campus took part in the festive fundraiser, in its seventh year now at the school. The students got creative in their fundraising, Salinas said — from going door-to-door to homes and businesses, donating their paycheques, making soup and sandwich lunches for the school, to holding bottle drives and a student-vs.-teacher basketball tourney—one student even pledged to wax his legs if his donation target was raised.

Around $10,000 in total was raised, so much that the school had a $2,000 surplus it plans to pass on another to other community groups and fundraisers in need.

“Every one went above and beyond,” Salinas said. “They found every penny they could wherever they could.”

The student-led initiative comes circle for some, Salinas said, noting at least one student this year was on the receiving end of the school’s generosity a few years ago. It helps students realize how privileged they can be—while some may wake up with food in the fridge or cash in their wallet, many still don’t, Salinas said.

“It’s helping people here in our community, giving back to the community where they’re from, where there’s a need,” he said.

“It’s something positive, and doing that never gets old. It’s part of maturing and growing older.” 

editor@ahnfsj.ca

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