Wheatland Elementary School resumed their annual Take a Bite out of Hunger campaign, encouraging students to bring in donations for the Christmas Hamper Society.
Devon Kirby, a Grade 5 teacher at Wheatland Elementary, explained the initiative has been on hold since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is finally able to resume.
“We are calling it ‘Take a Bite out of Hunger,’ and so this week at school we are collecting items for the Christmas Hamper Society, and then also we are doing Soup for Soldiers,” she said. “Each day we are collecting different items — Oct. 30 was pasta and pasta sauce, Oct. 31 was breakfast and lunch items, Nov. 1 was hygiene, Nov. 2 was new toys and games, and Nov. 3 was our Soup for Soldiers Day that we were collecting cans of soup that went to the legion.”
The school has a total student population of 340 kids, who as of Oct. 31, being the second day of the program, had already amassed over 400 items collected for donation.
According to Kirby, hype and excitement spread like wildfire through the school as students were aiming to achieve specific donation goals which carried some added incentive.
“(Students) have been very excited, the whole school is involved, and we are working towards a couple of goals. If the students brought in 2,000 items, our associate principal would be duct taped to a wall, and if they brought in over 2,500 items, then our principal would be duct taped to the wall. They were very excited to work towards those goals,” said Kirby. “Every day in the hallways, you could hear kids taking about what they were going to bring the next day … staff are participating as well so they could bring in items and get us to our goals.”
The Christmas Hamper Society was notified ahead of the event so that they could be made aware of the influx of donations coming their way.
Parents of students were also made aware of the project, though much of the notice and information was spread through the school from student to student.
“We did send some information home to parents, but my Grade 5 class last week went around to all of the classes to explain what we were collecting each day, and they gave examples of things that they could bring in each day,” said Kirby. “They (The Christmas Hamper Society) were shocked that we were thinking of this so early, but so very grateful. They came on Monday, Nov. 6 to pick up all of the items and they were so excited when I called and talked to them to tell them that we were doing this, and they were excited to have this stuff so early.”
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times