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A season for giving
Deh Cho schools hold Christmas food drives

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Students in a number of Deh Cho schools are showing that giving is as important as receiving this holiday season.

NNSL photo/graphic

Colton Hardisty-Gillis, left, Gabriella Hardisty-Beaverho, Roman Cli, Seth Hardisty and Lekasha Tesou hold some of the 66 food items that they and the other students at Bompas Elementary School donated to the Deh Cho Friendship Centre's Christmas hamper program. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

Students at Bompas Elementary School, Echo Dene School and Deh Gah School have taken part of food drives. In Fort Liard, Kathie McLeod, the school's administrative assistant, organizes the annual event.

McLeod puts a box by the Echo Dene School office and sends notes home with the students asking their household to donate a canned or dry good item. This year she was hoping for more donations that normal.

"I have a big, giant box this year," McLeod said.

As of Dec. 12 the box was half full. McLeod was in the process of sending a second note home to spur enough donations to help fill the box to its brim.

McLeod said she even got some outside help this year. Some members of the community, who don't have children at the school, but who saw the box, brought in donations.

"It's good to see other people wanting to help," she said.

From the donations McLeod normally makes up four packages of food that she gives to less fortunate families in the hamlet. With more donations she was hoping to make five or six packages and deliver them on Dec. 20, the last day of school.

"They are so happy to get something. It just makes my day," McLeod said about the recipients.

Students at Deh Gah School in Fort Providence took a slightly different approach to gathering food. The school held a pancake breakfast for the community on Dec. 13. The cost of admission was a non-perishable food item.

All of the donations were being given to the Zhahti Koe Friendship Centre's food bank.

In Fort Simpson, students and staff at Bompas Elementary School held a pajama day on Dec. 4. The night before, the book club held a sleep over, and with those students already in their pajamas, the decision was made to extend the pajama event to the whole school, said Kelley Andrews-Klein, the school's principal.

To make the event meaningful students were asked to bring a food item and to think about caring behavior, she said.

The students donated 66 items that will be given to the Deh Cho Friendship Centre for its Christmas hamper program. Through the program the centre combines 40 meal hampers from the Salvation Army in Yellowknife with local food and financial donations to create as many as 75 larger hampers.

The school was planning on holding a second food drive before Christmas to collect even more donations.

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