By Stephen Dafoe
Riviere Qui Barre – A trip to a Christian summer camp this past summer set a Camilla School student on a mission to help the homeless. Nine-year-old Brooke Bonin has been raising money for Edmonton’s Hope Mission since school began in September and has already amassed more than $3,000, monies that will be handed over to the mission Dec. 23.
The Grade 4 student said she became truly aware of the plight of the homeless this past summer at Camp Nakumun, located near Busby. “What they did is they showed other fundraisers helping the homeless, and it really just touched my heart, so I decided to do it, too” Miss Bonin said. “They showed a video with a whole bunch of homeless people in it, and I saw one guy digging through the garbage can trying to find food. And I saw people cold on the streets. I just started thinking maybe I can help.”
When school began in September, the Camilla student took the idea to Camilla Principal Michael Byrne and some of the school’s teachers for their approval. Once Miss Bonin had the school’s approval, the fundraising campaign started with some grass roots efforts.
“I put a jar in all the Grade 4 class rooms,” Miss Bonin said. “They put the money in the jar and at the end of the day I collected it into a bag and took it home.”
Student contributions were greatly expanded with a $1,000 donation from Ron Hodgson Chevrolet Buick GMC in Edmonton.
But the cheque was not the end of the fundraising. Bonin added to the tally with a Halloween Craft Sale at the school, an event that raised approximately $143. “Everything sold on the second day,” she said. “There was basically nothing left.”
A similar and more rapid sell out occurred during the school’s Christmas Craft and Bake Sale, an event that raised $480 for the cause. “Everything sold out basically on the first recess,” Miss Bonin explained. “Recess is like 15 minutes.”
The Hope Mission will be coming to Camilla School on the final day before Christmas break to receive the money Bonin and her fellow students have raised, funds the Camilla student is confident will be put to good use by the organization. “I think they are going to use the money to buy more beds or buy more food – something like that,” Miss Bonin said.
But while the donations will soon be handed over to help those they have been raised to help, the nine-year-old humanitarian has no intention of slowing her fundraising efforts down in the new year. “I’m just going to keep going until the end of the school year,” she said. “At the end of the school year I’m going to give them all the money I’ve raised after December 23rd.”
Miss Bonin’s mother Brigite said those wishing to help her daughter’s fundraising efforts for the homeless can send their donations, payable to the Hope Mission, to Camilla School.
The mailing address of the school is Box 29 – Riviere Qui Barre, AB – T0G 1Y0.