Vanier students looking to help their community

École Georges P. Vanier School students Anna Williams (left) and Ethan Little take part in the kick off of their school-wide food bank initiative Tuesday afternoon. The students have eight days to collect non-perishable food items for the Town of Morinville’s Fill-A-Bus initiative.
By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Watching a group of Grade 2 students marching around the gymnasium carrying cut out school buses to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus is a scene that could be seen in just about any school. But what made Tuesday afternoon’s performance special was the fact École Georges P. Vanier School students were using the performance to kick off the first day of a worthy cause.

Grade 2 students have the next eight days to rally their fellow students and their families to bring some food from home to help those in Morinville whose cupboards are bare. The Town of Morinville’s Fill-A-Bus unit will arrive at the school Nov. 25, just ahead of the official kickoff of the initiative during the annual Christmas Festival the next day.

Vanier Grade 2 teacher Cindy Vervynck, one of the teachers helping to organize the school’s contribution to the program, said each of Vanier’s grade levels decide on a service project to help out the world. The Grade 2 students focus their project on the community of Morinville.

“We feel there’s a need for it in our community and it’s something the kids can see grow,” Vervynck said. “It’s something tangible for them that they can actually touch and they can feel. They can move those bags and boxes onto the bus. They’ll have a feeling of ownership.”

The community-minded project is nothing new for Vanier or its students. The school has taken on many initiatives in the past, including beautifying the school grounds, picking up litter in the community and organizing a program to send desks and chairs to students in India. Whatever the initiative or grade level, Vervynck believes there is a great value in students helping others.

“I think with any service project it teaches students to be mindful of their community,” she said. “Not just their school or their family but the world.”

Vervynck is hoping the students can accumulate enough non-perishable food items over the next eight days to fill at least half of the bus.

Morinville’s fill-A-Bus will be parked at Chris and Tracy’s No Frills from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Nov. 26 and at Sobeys from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. the same day.

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