The less than 200 students at Carpathia elementary school know they have it pretty good. Most of them live in a nice south-end neighbourhood, get three square meals a day and have teachers that care about their current well-being as well as their futures.
That's why the students, who range from nursery school to Grade 6, collected 279 pounds of non-perishable food items -- that's about 1.5 pounds per child -- for the Christmas Cheer Board.
"It's pretty phenomenal," said Andrea Thio, a Grade 3 teacher who helps out with the school's student council. "We're a small school but every classroom had a box (for donations) and every one was full."
It's part of an annual tradition at Carpathia, which is located just east of Kenaston Boulevard and between Corydon and Kingsway avenues.
Thio said every month at Carpathia features a self esteem theme and this month's is sharing.
"We talk to the kids about how we can share goodwill with other people. The Cheer Board activity fits into our school-wide theme. We're collecting these food items to show that Carpathia School can share and care. We want to instill empathy in the children and this is a great way to do it," she said.
One of her students brought in 10 boxes of Kraft Dinner.
"He was so excited. He said, 'Who doesn't like Kraft Dinner, Miss Thio?' she said. "They're so happy when they bring something in. They're able to take ownership of being able to help somebody else out."
She'll get no argument from Nigar Irandost, a Grade 6 student at Carpathia.
"It gives me a good feeling knowing somebody else has food they can eat. We're thankful for all the things we have. We want to help people who are less fortunate than we are," she says.
Kai Madsen, executive director of the Cheer Board, said children are a major component of its charitable efforts every year.
"We utilize their talents in the assembling of hampers. We had 1,000 school kids this year. We couldn't do it without them," he said. "(Carpathia's contribution) is one further example of the generosity, goodwill, fun and spontaneity they have in doing these things."
Madsen said children are tuned in to a lot more than adults generally give them credit for.
"They understand a lot nowadays. They understand responsibilities, they understand there are some difficult times and in most cases, they react in a very positive way," he said.
Madsen said kids can even help out with the cheer board's greatest need before Christmas -- delivering hampers to the designated families.
"Mom or dad can do the driving and the kids can carry the boxes. About half of our drivers come in with young folks with them. It works really well," he said.
To lend your support, send your donations to the Spirit of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave, Winnipeg, R2X 3B6.
They have the spirit:
In Memory of Earl & Sadie Preston $300.00
Glen & Elaine Volkmar $25.00
In Memory of Helen & Bill Pierce $30.00
Walter & Yvonne Mudlo $25.00
In Memory of Lorene & Herman Magnus $100.00
M. Doreen Derrett $100.00
In Memory of Kelsey King $113.00
Acacio O. & Maria Santos $200.00
In Memory of Garvie F. Rae $50.00
Mr. Ken Zorniak $100.00
Barbara MacInnes $100.00
Elkslodge #10 Winnipeg Benevolent & $100.00
Protective Order of Elks Ron & Joanne Kuhtey $150.00
Carl & Lucille Curtis $30.00
Mr. Jim G. Kajpust $50.00
Mrs. Joan Peterson $25.00
In Memory of Jennifer & Mom Betty $20.00
Claudia & William Senkiw $500.00
In Memory of Freda Fairman $25.00
In Memory of Ethel Fairman $25.00
In Memory of Netha Reimer $70.00
In Memory of Anne Tuchonowski $30.00
Wildewood Seniors Recreation Association $400.00
Don Menzies & Pat Lench $200.00
In Memory of Ron & Edie Zimmerman $100.00
In Memory of Kay McNeill & Helen Peterson $100.00
Fred & Dot Jensen $25.00
In Memory of Kenny Ingram $50.00
B. Corbett $25.00
Ms. Elizabeth Shannon $100.00
Mr. William Gillespie $35.00
Brian Elwood $35.00
In Memory of Peter P. Giesbrecht $100.00
Karen Taylor $50.00
M. Nowosad $50.00
Andrew & Anu Osborne $75.00
Chiu-Lun & Winifred Cheung $20.00
In Memory of
Marjorie & George Aldous $100.00
In Memory of George Proctor $30.00
I. J. Frankenberger $150.00
Bashful Bidders Bridge Club $45.00
Alex & Peggy Colonello $100.00
Marilyn Bruce $100.00
In Memory of Ruth Muirhead $25.00
Paul & Sheila Gair $50.00
Ms. Rose Szajewski $100.00
Marie McRae $50.00
Tenants of Evergreen Gardens $100.00
In Memory of B.D. (Buck) & Eva Hay $200.00
Executive, Directors and Members of the Manitoba $300.00
Seniors Golf Assoc. Cam & Maxime Brown $100.00
Anonymous (four donations) $175.00
Previous Total $59,535.90
Todays Total $5,158.00
Grand Total $64,693.90