Students at Watson Road Elementary donating to Merritt Food Bank

Students help evacuees

Several classes from Kelowna’s Watson Road Elementary School have been busy preparing donations for flood victims in Merritt.

The idea to gather donations such as food, water, toiletries and clothing for the Merritt Food Bank was started by School District 23, and Stacy Ramdyal, a Grade 2 teacher at Watson Road Elementary, wanted to be a part of it.

“It's been a really great experience for the students to work together, but also just bringing that community piece into play, and helping others also makes us feel really good and fills our buckets as well,” described Ramdyal.

The Grade 2 students worked with some of the Grade 4, 5 and 6 students to create a list of items Merritt residents were in need of. Students brought that list home, so they could bring back requested items for the food bank.

Ramdyal said some of her students have connections to the community of Merritt, including one student who was directly affected by the heavy rainfall and mudslides, so her class was eager to help out.

“I actually had a student in my class in Vancouver a couple days before the rainfall happened, and she got stuck in a bit of traffic, so she had a big connection to the flooding and mudslides because she just missed it," said Ramdyal. "A lot of our other students have family in Merritt, so they were just really excited to be a part of something that could help others."

Kara Sikora is also a Grade 2 teacher at the school. She says the students are constantly learning about how to be a good neighbour, so this was a perfect opportunity for her students to practice what their curriculum preaches.

“Even in our curriculum, it's talking about how you can be a good contributor to our community, so then just tying it back in to how can we be good contributors, and this was a great opportunity to show the kids and not just talk about it but actually get them to do the real life thing of donating and contributing,” explained Sikora.

All students who participated seemed delighted to help out in their own unique way. Ramdyal has only been a teacher in Kelowna since September, but in her short time here she has instilled a community-first mindset for her students.

After the brutal wildfire season the Okanagan faced this past summer, Ramdyal organized a way to honour firefighters by sending baked goods and hot drinks to Kelowna’s Station 8 fire hall.

The Merritt Food Bank will be coming to Watson Road Elementary School on Monday, Dec. 6 to collect the donations.

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