Students at Cataline elementary have been playing the role of Santa’s little helpers this month through a 12 Days of Christmas Giving initiative at the school.
Spurred on by kindergarten teacher Rya Enns and her class, students have been busy delivering toys, food, letters, artwork, gift baskets and performing songs through Christmas carolling to various organizations, charities and associations throughout the city.
“We just put it out there for December,” Enns said. “Let’s do something really nice for other people this Christmas, and the kids were super excited, the response from the parents was phenomenal and the entire Cataline community bought in.”
Once word got out of the class’s initiative, other classes at the school jumped on board to pitch in.
On Monday, Dec. 13, students travelled around town on a school bus dropping off Christmas goodies and performing at various locations including the Child Development Centre, the School District 27 board office, the Williams Lake RCMP detachment, the Cariboo Memorial Hospital, the Salvation Army and the Williams Lake Fire Department station.
More than 200 toys were dropped off at the Child Development Centre, and bags upon bags of food were delivered to the Salvation Army’s food bank — a cumulative effort between all of the primary classes at the school. Intermediate classes pitched in by writing Christmas letters to seniors, which were dropped off Wednesday, Dec. 16 at the Williams Lake Seniors Village when primary classes walked over to the facility to sing for residents.
Enns’ kindergarten students also wrote heartfelt letters to Dr. Bonnie Henry to thank her for keeping them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Her office was really excited about that, and so were the RCMP and firemen when we dropped all those letters and art off,” Enns said.
Four gift baskets were also put together and were delivered to residents in Williams Lake.
“Two students at the high school didn’t have money and wanted to buy their mom gifts, so we put together two big baskets and they were given to the kids,” Enns said.
“Then we heard about a woman at the hospital going through cancer treatment and has a broken femur. Another person is in their 20s and having a rough year, so we did a basket for them, as well.”
Through it all, Enns said the young students were able to better develop an understanding and empathy for those less fortunate — a concept that was introduced and explored to many for the first time.