The contribution to the Share Your Christmas campaign and food bank by Fireside School students, their parents, and staff continues to wow the Cochrane Activettes.

On Friday, the Activettes picked up over 90 boxes of nonperishable and essentials from the annual two-week giving campaign at the school. In addition, almost another $1,000 worth of gift cards were donated.

Since the K to 8 school opened, it has held this event for the food bank, explains grade 4 teacher Corinne Doll.

"This is our fourth year open, and we are really incredibly proud to become a huge part of the community," says Doll.

To heighten interest in the collection, a friendly Christmas bingo competition is held. The bingo cards list all of the food items in high demand at the food bank, and each is assigned a point value. 

"Throughout the school, every classroom works to get the most points, and the most points usually equals a pretty awesome prize."

She was proud of the efforts of the entire school, including those of the students in her class.

"I think our class has certainly been on board and has exceeded my expectations, and we're pretty proud of what we have accomplished."

"We like a little competition, but we know at the end of the day it's the food bank that wins, so we try to get excited about it and get the kids excited about the competition piece, but also to tell them about the food bank needing the items, and that we're helping our community."

"I think what I'm most proud of is, we have a lot of families in our community who struggle, and yet everyone is bringing in a share, and bringing in something from their pantry or encouraging parents to buy a few items when out shopping. They really get on board. I think this is the most I've ever seen here."

Ainsley is in Mrs. Doll's class. She has participated since an early grade and has contributed many items. She believes it's extremely important to homeless people and families that are struggling.

"They can't survive without the food bank, so I like helping those people," she says.

Luca and Angelo worked as a team to tabulate food items as they came in from Mrs. Doll's class.

Like Ainsley, Luca has participated since an early grade.

"It means a lot to me to help. It was super heartful and happy for me to participate."

Not to be overlooked, the student leadership team played a huge role. Unfortunately, after launching the campaign they were required to continue their studies at home due to heightened COVID-19 measures.

Karen Kingsmith, of the Activettes, says local schools play a huge role in Share Your Christmas and are major contributors. She says it's also a good way to educate youth that there are people in need in our community,

She knew the school's drive was another success, and the Activettes took a different approach this year in collecting the items from the school. 

"We picked up there last year, and we had four carloads. This year we have a van so we're hoping we can get it all in one van load, but still, that's a lot of boxes. Wow!"

Kingsmith points out the teachers of the school also contribute gifts to Share Your Christmas in lieu of a staff gift exchange.

In the end, Marcia Lowen's Grade 6 class came first in the bingo, Corinne Doll's class came second and Chantel Lawrence's Grade 5 class came third.

There are 24 classes in the school and about 650 students.