This Christmas season, 557 Langley preschool and kindergarten students joined the 2,000 Wind & Tide preschoolers from across the Lower Mainland to partner with Union Gospel Mission in providing essential food items and specially chosen gifts for 56 low-income families.
Each Christmas, Rachel Cram, founding director of Wind & Tide schools, prompts her many young students to learn about the needs in their own communities and to play a part in solving those needs. She does so through UGM’s Gifts of Hope initiative, where each year her students assemble holiday hampers for families in need.
“Through the generosity of the children at Wind & Tide and other donors, we’ve been able to provide 200 hampers for families as well as some singles,” said Barb Atkins, manager of UGM’s Women and Families Centre.
“Each hamper is packed with all of the food items needed to prepare a tasty Christmas dinner, including gift cards to purchase a turkey, groceries and dairy as well as a personalized gift for each family member. These hampers, valued at $350, provide families with much needed relief during the holidays.”
UGM delivers the hampers to low income families in Vancouver’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
In November, each school received a list of needed food items, as well as information about the gender, age, interests and hobbies of each family member. Then the students at Wind & Tide got to work, bringing donations from home, gathering food, carefully choosing toys and gifts and slowly watching the hampers fill.
“It is quite amazing to witness the students experiencing the joy of giving to those in need,” said Wind & Tide education director, Suzie Warneke.
“At age three and four, these children understand this. They see the importance of teamwork and how together they can make a difference.”
Warneke explained that hampers are not only important to those who receive them, but also to those who give.
“Each year the families and children make this a priority. I see how this initiative impacts families and how grateful they are to teach their children how to give,” she said.