Chilliwack students experience cold day in class for charity

Vedder elementary wraps up against cold while helping the homeless

There was a chill in the air at Vedder elementary on Wednesday, but a lesson in warmth all around.

The heat was turned off for the day, at least in the intermediate classrooms, to give students a tiny peek into what the homeless are facing as winter weather begins. They called it the Coldest Day of the Year, and it was spearheaded by Grade 5 teacher Garrison Hodgins.

“It’s just to bring the meaning of empathy to the kids,” he says, explaining why the temperatures were kept so chilly throughout the day. “It’s to get them thinking about homelessness.”

It’s that intermediate grade age, specifically those Grades 5 and 6 students, who are really starting to think about others in a meaningful way, Hodgins says. And that makes it a great time to show them how to give back to a community, how to get involved, and how to contribute to society.

“This is about being a part of something bigger than yourself,” he says.

All of the students were invited to bring their toques, scarves, sweaters and blankets into their classrooms to keep warm throughout the day. Then, at the end of the day, they were invited to hand over their blankets to be donated to an organization called The Blanket BC Society. Warm clothing donations were sent to Ruth and Naomi’s for distribution there, part of clothing drive by teacher Donna Boucher.

Hodgins got the idea from his wife, who brought the same project to her school in Abbotsford. The idea was embraced by staff and students. They made a promotional video to get the kids excited about it, they sent letters home to parents explaining the idea, and they talked about it for weeks prior to the day.

In addition to staying warm with blankets and toques, a small army of volunteers, teachers and students busily made up hot chocolate to be delivered to classrooms. For a loonie, each student could buy a cup. They raised well over $400 this way.

The people behind Blankets BC came to Vedder elementary on Wednesday to talk about where their donations and blankets will go. Gregory Ould started collecting blankets with his son Benjamin more than nine years ago, and now his young daughter Emma is in on it, too. Their society has gathered a quarter million blankets since they began.

Back in 2005, Ould noticed a man lying in an alcove at the side of a movie theatre. He asked him if there was anything that he could do to help him out.

“I could use a blanket, to survive the night,” the man said. So that’s what Ould did. That simple act of giving has now grown into a non-profit contributing to more than 35 organizations in the Lower Mainland along with many other churches and cold winter weather shelters that open their space to the homeless and families in need of help.

Blanket BC relies on donations from volunteers, and often that comes in the form of classes, Scout groups, churches, sports teams and service clubs.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, the students had gatherd up 140 blankets to donate to Blanket BC, and more than 300 pieces of warm clothes for Ruth and Naomi’s.

Some of the classes got creative with the idea of keeping people warm this winter. Teena Richardson’s class got busy making scarves. She brought warm fabric into the class, and they cut them up into scarf-sized strips. They added a fringe with some handy scissor work, and managed to create 30 brand new scarves. Those were also donation on Wednesday.

For more information, visit www.BlanketBC.org.

 

Students at the school raised more than $400 and collected more than 40 blankets for Blanket BC.

Students in Garrison Hodgins’ Grade 5 class bundle up against the chilly air, as the heaters were turned off for the day.

Students in Andy Fast’s Grade 4 class take their hot chocolate, a fundraiser that coincided with the Coldest Day of the Year campaign.

Taylor Spielman, a Grade 5 student at Vedder elementary, carries a flat of hot chocolate and marshmallows to a classroom at lunch, as part of their Coldest Day of the Year fundraiser.

Just Posted

Corruption no longer dogs Yale First Nation

A return to traditional governance helps to turn the tide

Emil Anderson earns multiple provincial contractor awards

Family-run companies with a long history in the FV were recognized for excellence in grading and community service

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Chilliwack-Hope MP gives a pre-Christmas ribbing in rhyme in Parliament

Conservative Mark Strahl gets his poem in before Liberal Rodger Cuzner rises to do same

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Homes in Hope sparkling for the holidays: Part 1

Hope photographer Ray Daws shares some festive sights

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

UPDATED: Train collides with car in Maple Ridge

Mother and child both uninjured, track cleared at 11 a.m.

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck by vehicle caught on security camera

Incident points to danger on the roads not only in low light but also in bright sunshine

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Most Read