A local family made 20 stockings stuffed with small gifts for adults who access the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program. Here Rowan

THURSDAY SPOTLIGHT: Children spread Chirstmas spirit in Parksville Qualicum Beach

KSS leadership students host a bake sale to raise money, visit The Gardens

LISSA ALEXANDER

Special to The NEWS

Some local children have been warming hearts, as well as ovens, in their efforts to provide joy to adults and seniors this Christmas.

Last month, the Leadership students from Qualicum Beach Elementary School contacted the Society of Organized Services (SOS) to see how they could contribute to the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program. Recently they hosted a bake sale, and they made Christmas cards and baked goods for seniors and adults who access the SOS Christmas program.

“I just feel good about it, it makes me feel warm inside,” said Grade 7 Leadership student Makenzie Busch.

The SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program ensures all local children and youth have a special gift to unwrap Christmas morning, and families and individuals receive local grocery store gift cards so they may choose food items that are meaningful to them over the holidays. SOS is just over halfway to its goal of $110,000 this Christmas to meet the needs of all local residents. To donate to the program visit www.sosd69.com, call 250-248-2093 or stop by either SOS Child, Youth & Family Centre location in Parksville or Qualicum Beach.

At the bake sale, QBES Leadership students sold cookies, cupcakes and brownies for 50 cents and one dollar, and they raised $200 for the SOS program. That money will help purchase local grocery store gifts cards for families, adults without children and seniors. A few of the Leadership members agreed that they feel good about donating money and items to people in-need.

“Because they can’t afford a lot and we think it’s a nice gesture to help them,” said Grade 7 Leadership student Erin Bulk.

The Leadership students also visit The Gardens in Qualicum Beach on a regular basis to play games with the seniors and participate in other local, as well as international, initiatives.

Carrie Frampton is the teacher of the Leadership elective class. She said there are a lot of families that attend Qualicum Beach Elementary School who benefit from SOS programs and services, and that’s why QBES gives back to SOS throughout the year. Lynne Murray is the Home Economics teacher and she also works with the Leadership students.

“It’s about giving back to the community,” she said.

Amanda Spitz and her three daughters were also excited to support the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program this year. They filled 20 stockings with treats and small gifts that will be given to adults who access the Christmas program.

“There is always lots of focus on children this time of year. Grown-ups love the holidays too.  I hope to create some smiles and warm some hearts,” she said. Spitz and her family moved to the area this summer and have been enjoying the SOS Family Nite program. She said the staff and volunteers at SOS have eased the transition of moving and have helped make Parksville their home.

“This program was the first sense of community our children had in our new town and continues to be the highlight of their week,” she said.

Local seniors will also receive cards created by a group of mothers who attend the SOS program Time in Comfort for Tots and Caregivers. The cards have beautiful, creative designs with colourful embellishments and messages like “May joy and laughter be yours this Christmas”.

Another group of children from Springwood Elementary School created handmade cards for seniors and adults who access the Christmas program. The children included their name and age along with a holiday message in each card.

Although Christmas is generally centered around giving to children, local children have made their focus on bringing joy to adults and seniors. And every time a child comes into SOS, proud and excited about their contribution to the program, it spreads a little more Christmas spirit to everyone around them.

— Lissa Alexander is the marketing co-ordinator at SOS. Email: info@sosd69.com

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