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Students give goodwill in a can
Less than 400 students, more than 2,000 cans of food for Winnipeg’s needy.
Students at Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary and Middle Schools, along with Ness Middle School, know there are those in the city who won’t have as lavish of a Christmas as they will.
"Not everyone is as fortunate as we are," said Stefan Kriening, a Grade 8 student at WMEMS in Westwood who helped organize the school to donate more than 500 items of food that were constructed into a four-foot Christmas tree and fireplace before being given to Siloam Mission last week.
"Doing projects like this, we’re helping them, but making ourselves aware that we’re lucky for what we have and that others don’t have as much."
Students were inspired to support Siloam, based in the Exchange District, after attending the massive We Day philanthropy ceremonies at MTS Centre earlier this year.
The schools’ 190 students have supported Winnipeg Harvest and the Mennonite Central Committee during past holiday fundraisers.
Grade 7 student Grace Bruinooge said she was impressed with the efforts of her peers, and the team work that went into constructing the cans into structures.
"It’s not easy," she said.
"Although it doesn’t look extravagant, it was difficult."
Over at Ness Middle School, students competed for the seventh annual Soup-er Bowl, raising 1,800 cans of soup for Winnipeg Harvest.
"It was a ginormous effort by everyone," said Riki Zimbakov, a senior member of the school’s student council.
"It feels like you’re involved in something bigger than yourself."
Leanne Stuart, a student council advisor, said the "highly coveted" trophy, which is given out to the homeroom class that donates the most cans, has become a school tradition.
"It gives us continuity from year to year and gives kids something to look forward to," she said.
Her colleague, Geret Coates, agreed.
"Hopefully when they leave, it instills in them the idea that as a citizen they should be looking out for the community and be giving back," he said.
Grade 7 student Emma Warriner, another senior student council member, said giving back to the community through the drive is one of those moments that gives her a warm feeling.
"We get so much for Christmas," she said, noting her holiday feast will include turkey, stuffing and dozens more extravagant dishes.
"To help give someone else a Christmas dinner, even if it’s just a hot can of soup, for them, it’s one of the best gifts they could have."
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