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(Posted 9:30 a.m., Dec. 19)
Sir Wil students play 'Secret Santa' to 30 families in need

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

(Left to right) Bronson Barton, Memory Chola and Sara Kassim were among the many students at Sir Wil who took part in this year's Holiday Hamper program. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Thirty families in need will receive a helping hand this holiday season thanks to students at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School who are carrying on a tradition that is nearly 25 years old.

During the past three weeks the students at Sir Wil have been collecting everything from toiletries and food to articles of clothing and toys. Some of the students even made Christmas wreaths out fresh evergreen boughs.

Enough items were collected to fill over 150 boxes and totes, or at least five boxes for each family.

The relationship between Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School and the Caldwell Family Centre dates back to when the school was located in Carson Grove.

The Holiday Hamper program was launched by former teacher Jane Brown after she meet Caldwell Centre founder Sister Thelma Marion. Nearly 25 years later the program is still going strong thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of students like Memory Chola and Sara Kassim.

"It's really important because we're helping so many people," says Kassim.. "It's important at every time of the year, but especially at this time of year because it's all about the giving and everyone's in that spirit."

Each of the 30 period two classes is assigned a family to collect items for, along with a family profile listing the number, age and gender of each child.

An interesting aspect of the program is that not all the families receiving the items are Christian, reflecting the multi-faith backgrounds of the students at the multi-ethnic school.

Holiday Hamper coordinator Corrine Davison says

"Year after year we think about not doing it, and doing something different, but the students come back and say 'Miss we must do it. We must help out these families. They're in need. They're in our city. We must help, " says Davison who makes a point of helping hand out the hampers to some of the recipient families every year.

"It's pretty amazing. They can't believe they are on the receiving end of such generosity and that it's teenagers that are doing it."

Sir Wil's principal, Barry Armstrong is understandably proud of the school's staff and students for carrying on the program.

"It's a tradition that was started at the old building by Jane Brown and i's really heart-warming to see it being carried on by our staff and students," says Armstrong.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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