Nineteen residents at the Sooke homeless shelter will celebrate Christmas this holiday season, and, for many, it’s their first time under a roof in several years.
Not only will Christmas breakfast be prepared and classic holiday tunes fill the shelter on Friday, but there will be a special gift under the tree made by a group of Sooke elementary students.
The Grade 5 John Muir Elementary class has prepared 19 gift bags for the shelter residents, stuffed with toques, socks and personal hygiene items. Each bag also includes hand warmers, chocolates and a handwritten note with personalized initials.
The students wrote the notes with phrases such as, “We care about you” and “Don’t give up.”
“We’re awfully quick to judge others when we don’t know what they’ve gone through,” said Grade 5 teacher Annette Jacobsen, who arranged the project.
“Sometimes, the kids can be scared of the homeless, and it’s important to teach that everyone has a story. Some people have lived in Sooke for a long time and have just fallen upon hard times.”
Jacobsen dropped off the bags prepared by her 22 students at the shelter on Dec. 16. The Sooke teacher said she was inspired by listening to a song by country artist Thomas Rhett, whose song, Be a Light, reinforces the idea that it only takes one person to shine positivity into a grim situation.
Melanie Cunningham, vice president of the Sooke Shelter Society, said she’s thankful that teachers like Jacobsen have prioritized community awareness to younger generations. She adds that she can’t wait to celebrate the holidays with “a new family at the shelter.”
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