On Wednesday morning Give a Shirt Campaign organizer Deanna Koebernick of Spruce Grove, Primeau teacher Amber Gratton and Primeau School student Emily Berard loaded the back of a pick-up truck and a small trailer with 3,248 items of clothing, 35 blankets and more than $200 in cash donations. – Lucie Roy Photo
By Lucie Roy
Morinville – On Wednesday morning Give a Shirt Campaign organizer Deanna Koebernick of Spruce Grove, Primeau teacher Amber Gratton and Primeau School students loaded the back of a pick-up truck and a small trailer with 3,248 items of clothing, 35 blankets and more than $200 in cash donations. The Give A Shirt Campaign is being supported by numerous schools and businesses in Alberta, including Primeau students who were involved in collecting clothing and blankets for the Deak Kum Pa orphanage in Luang Prabang, Laos. Every classroom at Primeau collected clothing and staff members stayed after hours Tuesday to sort, count and label the bags.
Koebernick said once the bags are picked up from the various locations they will be placed in a 20-foot sea container donated and delivered to Graminia School in Spruce Grove. The container will leave for its destination Jan. 21.
Campaign organizer Deanna Koebernick spoke of the project to her co-worker Wendy Phillips-Berard, a parent of one of Primeau’s students, Emily Berard. Miss Berard mentioned it to her teacher, Amber Gratton, and the project took wings from there.
With more than 80 large plastic bags of gently used clothing and stacks of boxes 10-year old Emily is quite pleased with the project. “I really liked it,” Miss Berard said. “It was fun.” She also donated some clothes and shoes. She said her Mom is proud of her.
Koebernick visited Primeau School and had a visual presentation for the students to see the orphanage and the children being helped. Gratton said this is the first time the school has been involved in this project. Koebernick said her family is travelling to Laos again and the Laos Orphanage trip is scheduled for this March. The goal is to collect 10,000 articles of clothing and 1,000 blankets. Most of what is donated will be for the two new orphanages of more than 1,500 children. The $35,000 raised is to construct new dorms. As of the beginning of January they have collected $10,000 in donations and the clothing has been pouring in from Devon, Spruce Grove, Morinville, Onoway, Cold Lake, Strathmore, Calgary and Saskatchewan.
Koebernick and her family made a trip to Asia in 2011. Prior to their departure they heard of the Deak Kum Pa orphanage and wanted to do something. She collected clothing her daughter Kaelyn no longer wore and explained to her it was going to an orphanage. From that the project was born. With the cooperation of the Graminia School they filled six hockey bags with clothing. They also collected $4,000 in donations which they matched to build a new bathroom facility.
The orphanage consists of children from ages six to 19and also operates as a school. It is home to 600 children and the number is increasing.