Students at an Ottawa elementary school prepare Christmas hampers

Students at an Ottawa elementary school are helping families in need, by putting together Christmas hampers.

For the students of St. Gregory Elementary School in Ottawa’s Crestview neighbourhood, it is a lesson in giving.

“I think I learned to just be nice to people and share with other people,” Grade 6 student Lucas said.

The entire school spent weeks gathering and sorting donations, before putting together the Christmas hampers on Wednesday.

“We get to give food to families in need. It’s really nice, and it’s really heart-warming,” said a Grade 6 student.

“So this is a tradition here at St. Gregory, we create the hampers to support our own families,” Principal Jennifer Murphy said.

“We have several families here that are new to Canada;  this is their first Christmas they’ll be celebrating here, and a lot of families in financial need.”

The entire school community will put together approximately 20 hampers.

“They do this because there is a need, but also because we have a lot of generosity in the community, and a lot to give. So we do want to support our own, and we want to make sure that everyone here has a great Christmas holiday,” Murphy said.

Each class received a list of items that they can give, and there will also be a sale of used items, donated by families and that money will also go towards hampers.

“We have a lot of generosity in this community, and a lot of families who are willing to provide food and gifts and gift cards and financial assistance to those in need – to make sure that everyone in our community has a good Christmas,” Murphy said. “It really is a whole school initiative, everyone contributes in some way.”

Each hamper will brighten the holidays of a family.

“I’m sure it will just make their day, like a bigger smile,” Grade 6 student Lily said.

For the teachers and staff, seeing children share is part of the holiday spirit.

“It brings joy to our hearts to see that they’re so engaged in helping out their community, and helping out their friends,” School Resource Teacher Rebecca Pereira said.

“It just brings the whole community together, and it’s nice to see them grow and develop as leaders.”

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