Students at St. Edmund Elementary in Beaconsfield are sending holiday joy to Quebec’s far north.
The students have put together 208 shoe boxes full of gifts for Inuit children in a remote northern community called Kangiqsualujjuaq.
“It’s a project they can do with their heart, and they can do with their family. It opens a discussion with their families about the history of First Nations communities. It’s a doorway,” said St. Edmund music teacher Jennifer Hayden, who spearheaded the project.
The children and their families choose all the items that go into their boxes, then an organization called ‘I Love First Peoples’ brings them up north.
“Last year St. Edmund had gathered 208 shoe boxes for Attawapiskat. We’re just amazed that they pulled it off again, packing the same number of shoe boxes for the school in Kangiqsualujjuaq,” said I Love First Peoples founder Josee Lusignan.
The exercise makes the students feel good.
“At Christmas, they don’t get a lot of Christmas presents, so this really helps bring them joy,” said 11-year-old Lucas Ricciardi.
Hayden thinks the shoe boxes will be a longtime holiday tradition at St. Edmund.
“It’s a powerful tool for teaching social justice, for teaching them about communities that don’t have the same privilege,” she told Global News.