It all started with a break-in at the Fairfield United Church last spring; thieves stole a laptop, some first aid kit supplies, and most importantly, food.
When students from the “We Club” at Sir James Douglas Elementary School found out about the theft they held bake sales and fundraisers until they collected $260, which they used to buy gift cards to the neighbourhood grocery store, Oxford Foods, and McDonald’s for the Church to distribute to local homeless people.
Even a year later, as the club celebrated “We Day” – a day that celebrates young people taking initiative to help others – Reverend Beth Walker was blown away.
“It took so much initiative and thought to do this,” Walker said.
She distributed the cards to Victoria’s homeless population and shared the kids’ story. On Thursday she presented at the school to reflect upon how the recipients reacted to the kids’ actions.
“They were touched that little kids would take the time to purchase this for them and that they were really thought of,” Walker said. “That’s the really profound, they said ‘those kids are thinking of us, that gives me hope.’”
This year the We Club is running a shoe-box campaign, as well as a coat, sock and toque drive for Victoria’s homeless population.
“They’re in a position where they’re coming from a place of comfort, but they have that big heart and knowledge to be able to see that not everyone lives that way,” said Kaylie Wilkinson, Grade 3/4 French immersion teacher and co-coordinator for the We Club. “It’s pretty inspiring the things they’ve been able to pull off.”
For Grade 5 student Sophie Nicholls, the choice to join the We Club was a no-brainer.
“I just thought it was a really fun idea to help people,” Nicholls said. “I’ve learned that it’s really sad when people don’t have as much as I do.”
Payton Tremplay, Grade 5, agreed.
“I’ve just always hated the idea of seeing people hungry and poor on the streets and I feel like if I join We Club I could someday make a difference,” she said. “I just feel like everyone deserves an equal amount of food and health care and money.”
Kaia Vu, Grade 4, said she joined because she didn’t like seeing the disparity between people.
“I notice all the time that almost everyone in our school is really, really spoiled compared to everyone else in Victoria,” Vu said. ” I joined because I thought that the human issues, like addiction and stuff, was horrible.”
We Day has been celebrated in schools around the world since 2007, and since then international We Clubs have helped raise $119 million for over 6,000 global organizations.
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