Cedar Hill Middle school students are basking in the glow of giving.
The school’s month-long fundraising drive pulled in more than 130 boxes of non-perishable food donations and $5,000 in cash for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, just in time for Christmas.
“We all focus on the spirit of generosity and that is the value and virtue we are trying instil in students,” said school principal Tom Aerts.
“(They) leave our school and move on to other schools and hopefully take with them that socially responsible aspect of their personality.”
Operation Snowball, aptly named after the snowball effect the fundraiser has developed over the program’s 13-year run, includes a school-wide food drive, coin drive, open house and craft fair and two musical concerts.
Students rolled tens of thousands of coins by hand, made arts and crafts and even went house-to-house collecting food items to top the 101 boxes of food and $2,000 raised in 2011.
“We feel really good about what we have accomplished and $5,000 is tremendous,” Aerts continued. “It is more than two and a half times what we raised before.”
Aerts’ said the operation that started with just four or five boxes of food and no cash donations has built a strong following in the Saanich community, but this year’s results surprised even him.
“We always established our goals before the events start but we always try to push those goals so it is a bit of a challenge and not too easy,” Aerts said. “I didn’t think we would bring in that much money. It was heartwarming to see the students come together and see the great energy around it … it was almost every grade, every classroom and every student.”
Cedar Hill Grade 7 student Katie Berglund entered her second year at the school looking forward to Operation Snowball and said the spirit of giving to the less fortunate is good for everyone involved.
“It is a great feeling to know you are helping other people,” the 12-year-old said. “I have so much and some people don’t have anything. Giving to others is the best feeling in the world.”