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Hats off to helpers
Youth contribute to hamper program to help community members in need

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Most people know about the 12 days of Christmas, but youth in Fort Simpson celebrated 12 days of kindness this month instead.

NNSL photo/graphic

Thelon Kenny rolls his cart through the Northern Store in Fort Simpson shopping for food. - April Hudson/NNSL photo

Bompas Elementary School's Grade 4 class, accompanied by a couple of students from the Grade 5/6 split, converged on Dec. 15 to load up on groceries at the Northern Store.

Their destination was the Deh Cho Friendship Centre, where the students dropped off more than $200 worth of groceries for the Centre's Christmas Hamper program.

The act of kindness was a grand finale for the class, which had spent the previous two weeks celebrating Christmas in their own way.

Grade 4 teacher Jackie Whelly said donating to the hamper program is something she did with her class in 2015 and she wanted to carry the tradition forward.

"It's nice to do it every year," she said.

Students hit the aisles in pairs, Christmas hats in place, each pushing a cart as they scoured the shelves for dry and canned goods.

The groceries were purchased with money the students fundraised, Whelly said. They raised $170 during a cake walk at the school's annual Christmas bazaar earlier in the month, and made $140 from selling popcorn.

On Dec. 14, the students donated $85 of that money to the Pay It Forward account at the Northern Store, which aims to provide people in need with a free coffee, soup or sandwich, with the rest going toward the hampers.

"We brainstormed different things to do for the 12 days of Christmas, and we came up with 12 ways of being kind around the school and the community," Whelly said.

Students celebrated their 12 days by handing out hot chocolate to all the students at Bompas, putting on a puppet show about a wolf who hated Christmas for the school's junior kindergarten and kindergarten class, and visiting the elders' care home.

Gina Hardisty-Isaiah, a Grade 4 student, said her favourite event of the 12 days of kindness was visiting with elders at the longterm care centre.

"We made snowflakes, decorated trees and made crafts," she said.

Amaria Tanche-Hanna, who teamed up with Hardisty-Isaiah while shopping for the hampers, said she was happy to donate to the hamper program.

"Some people don't have food," she explained.

"It makes us feel good to do something for the community."

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