Students in Fort Saskatchewan are gathering a few winter essentials to help their community during its coldest months.
Kids in Grade 5 classes at Southpointe School have been collecting sock and snack donations from family, friends and local businesses.
“It makes me feel happy to see so many people want to help,” said Grade 5 student Zoë Duncan.
The students call it the Snocks Program. Items are set to be distributed prior to Christmas Day.
“The socks are a big thing,” Duncan explained. “People can be warmer in this cold season and if they are hungry, then they have a snack.”
The items will be donated to various schools in the Fort Saskatchewan area as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Saskatchewan — a United Way funded partner.
Over the past few weeks, students have met with Edmonton and area community leaders to learn more about how they can make a difference.
“The students spoke with Sarah Chan and she really helped paint a picture of what poverty looks like in our region and encouraged our students through the work they are doing,” said teacher Carole Bossert.
Students have created posters, written emails and used social media to help educate the community on local issues surrounding poverty.
“It’s a great way for them to show leadership within the school because they have such a big role to play, promoting it within their family and within the community,” Bossert said.
Funding for the project is part of a grant from United Way’s Dentons Make Your Mark On Poverty, which supports student-led projects that take action against local poverty.
“With the grant, we’ve set up bins for every grade level in the school, which makes it safe against COVID-19 and easy for the kids to bring in and we have a bin outside the school too,” said teacher Jameson Epp. “It also helps us purchase additional snacks and socks.”
The school partnered with the Dentons Make Your Mark program two years ago through an initiative called Warm Hands, Warm Hearts, which collected more than 1,000 pairs of gloves.
“I like doing these things because I like helping people. I like when people appreciate the good things that we do to help them have a better life,” Duncan said.
“We really believe in student leadership,” Bossert said.
“We see great things happening within the school. They can help us in the future, lead for tomorrow.”