By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 20, 2023.
As Christmas fast approaches and many Lethbridge residents find themselves in need, the Father Leonard Van Tighem School community has come together to collect basic everyday items to help the needy stay warm, clean and in good spirits through the holiday season.
FLVT principal Shannon Collier shared with the Herald what some elementary students did to engage the whole school community in giving to those in need by creating blessing bags.
“Our Grade 3 and Grade 4 students led an advent social justice project where they came together as a class community to invite our whole entire school to celebrate this advent season with the gift of giving,” said Collier.
Â She said for them as a school the true meaning of Christmas is about finding ways to fill their hearts with kindness and with care for those who are part of the Lethbridge community. As children from the younger elementary grades brainstormed, they opened it up to older grades to make this a school-wide event.
Â “What we saw from there was just a huge amount of outpouring of giving and that’s what Christmas is about, the gift of giving to our community. We do believe as Catholics that every person is a child of God, so at this time when there’s people in need it’s what we do. We make sure that those who need a little bit of a smile or something special for Christmas time have something to look forward to during this special time of our liturgical year,” said Collier.
Â She said everyone was involved in their own way – some students brought boxes and decorated them to put the items in, and placed them in every classroom, while some older students purchased items themselves in nearby stores.
Â “Parents had shared with us what their kids were talking about it, saying things like ‘when we go to the store, we need to make sure we get something for the blessing bags,’ with some using their own allowance for it,” said Collier.
Â She said it was great to see the true spirit of Christmas within the students and the whole school community by providing those in need with the gift of giving.
Â “It was truly heartwarming just to watch that gift of giving so authentically come from kids and our school community. It is what we do as Catholics, we give to our community, and we support them, and we love and care for everyone,” said Collier.
Each Grade had the opportunity to collect specific items for the blessing bags which are being donated to Streets Alive after they are blessed during the school’s liturgical celebration today.
âƒ Kindergarten collected lip balm and soap bars.
âƒ Grade 1 collected juice boxes and fruit cups.
âƒ Grade 2 collected toothbrushes and toothpaste.
âƒ Grade 3 collected nail clippers and hairbrushes.
âƒ Grade 4 collected granola bars and fruit snacks.
âƒ Grade 5 collected deodorant and travel size shampoo.
âƒ Grade 6 collected individual sized Kleenex and gum.
âƒ Students in Grade 7 to Grade 9 collected new or gently used mittens, socks and toques.
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