Port Coquitlam pre-teens are taking to heart the worries and concerns of families devastated by B.C.’s November flooding.
But Minnekhada Middle School students aren’t just talking about the disaster.
They’re taking action, raising nearly $13,000 for flood relief in a coin drive and online fundraiser.
With matching funds from the provincial and federal governments, the children will have put nearly $40,000 into Red Cross assistance for flood victims.
“It was the kids’ initiative,” explained Grade 6/7 teacher Kiren Chand.
She said her students were aware of the flooding that wiped out farms in Abbotsford, destroyed major highways and impacted multiple homes in Merritt in Princeton.
Chand said the idea came up when the students were talking about kindness and social responsibility.
“One of the students brought up about how grateful they were to have a home, warmth and food.”
“What’s going on?” Chand asked.
Students revealed they were concerned about what was going on in the news.
Several suggested offering food and clothing to the flood victims.
But one student said: “Couldn’t we just donate money?”
Everyone agreed a community-wide fundraiser was a good idea and, within a few days, the school had a link online for donating to the Red Cross.
“Literally, I think we had the conversation on a Thursday, contacted Red Cross that evening, asking ‘can we set up a link?’ By Friday evening the link went live,” Chand said.
Soon the cash started rolling in, with kids collecting coins, some bringing in their own birthday money or other savings, and several businesses stepped up too.
For example, Pizza 64 donated $200 online, Cobbs Bread on Oxford Connector contributed five per cent of their sales from two Tuesdays and Thursdays to coincide with the coin drive and Dominos Pizza on Prairie Avenue donated a pizza party for the winning class and will be hosting a family pizza night for the Minnekhada community, with 20 per cent of funds going to the Red Cross fundraiser.
Chand said the students are thrilled to help out families in this difficult time.
“They feel empowered,” Chand said.
Fundraising is still going on and you can contribute here.
The B.C. and federal governments will each match every dollar donated to the Canadian Red Cross 2021 British Columbia Floods and Extreme Weather Appeal until Dec. 26.