April 17th, 2021

School campaign helps the vulnerable

By Lethbridge Herald on March 4, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski - The city's vulnerable are being helped by St. Martha's elementary school. Pictured: Teacher Laurie McIntosh and students Georgia Schindel and Jackson Hengeveld.

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
The Children of St. Martha’s elementary school held its third annual “Blankets of Hope” campaign on Thursday, and it has never been more needed in this year when COVID has cut off so many community connections for both the school’s children and the local homeless population,” says Kindergarten teacher and campaign organizer Laurie McIntosh.
“Just looking at some of the notes and seeing kids mention COVID,” said McIntosh. ‘I miss my family. I bet you do too.’ Or ‘I know COVID is a hard time. Please keep going. We need you.’ The messages have changed this year for our kids.
“When we talked to Blankets of Hope founders Mike and Nick (Fiorito) out of New York this morning, they reminded us it is the small acts that are going to make a difference. And that not only are we providing connection for people who don’t have homes, or who are having a hard time out on the streets right now, we are actually also fulfilling that need in ourselves to connect with our community.”
This year The Children of St. Martha’s prepared 200 free blankets with personal notes attached from the school’s students to distribute to Lethbridge’s vulnerable population. The blankets will be picked up and distributed by Streets Alive Mission on behalf of the school.
“I think we have noticed that of course the blankets are nice to get, and they are something that is warm and something tangible people can hold, but it is really the notes that are included which are going to warm people the most,” said McIntosh. “They are so full of hope. And they are so full of love. They are so full of compassion. And I do think there is a different twist this year with that lack of connection they (the students) are feeling — this is allowing them to really feel they are needed, and they are getting the opportunity to give back.”
Grade 3 student Georgia Schindel certainly felt that way.
“It helps the homeless and poor to be warm outside,” she said. “The note makes them feel loved, like they should be – loved.”
She recalled one sentence she put in her note to include with a blanket.
“You shine like a diamond because you are one of a kind,” Schindel wrote.
Kindergarten student Jackson Hengeveld said giving his note and blanket to someone in need made him feel good.
“I think they will be happy to get it,” he said. “And it makes me feel happy to give this because you are being nice.”

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