This holiday season, students at Gracedale PS have been working hard to raise funds for a local community homeless shelter.
“We care about the people in our community,” explained Krishan, Grade 5.
Led by students from grades 1 to 5, under the direction of staff members Valeria Gallotta and Lisa Di Nardo, students sold Krispy Kreme donuts to collect donations for Islington Seniors’ Homeless Shelter, which is located close to their school.
“We feel that the seniors may not have family, so we do not want them to feel alone and want them to feel like they belong,” says Grade 5 student Mariah.
The act of giving is what was most important to Elizabeth in Grade 1, “It would make the seniors happy to get a gift.”
Through this project, called Gracedale Gives Back, students raised nearly $1000 to purchase much-needed items including socks, winter hats and long sleeve shirts for the shelter’s 45 current residents.
Aiden, in Grade 3, believes it is important “to help out people who don’t have much and so they can stay warm.”
For Grade 5 student, Nathaniel, the connection was personal, “My grandparents take care of me so I would want seniors to get the best care and support.”
This week shelter workers visited Gracedale PS and students were able to make their donations in person. The experience was meaningful and important for students, school staff and employees from the shelter.
“I am thrilled by the way our school community got together to raise money for the local homeless shelter,” says Principal Mark Babiy. “It was wonderful to see our school community get together to raise funds and awareness of a need in our community. Well done! I am very proud of our students and the staff here at Gracedale.”
The shelter, which is run by the Salvation Army, is currently home to 45 seniors and has plans to expand to house 95 seniors. Motivated by the success and impact of this year’s fundraiser, Gracedale PS says this is only the beginning.
“It was very meaningful for us to explore with students the importance and impact of making donations to others in need. There are many, right here in our community, who are less fortunate,” says Gracedale staff member Valeria Gallotta. “Students learned about the shelter’s mission and what they do in the community. They came to understand that the simplest act of kindness and giving can make a big impact during the holidays. We are very proud of students and hope to continue building a relationship with the Islington Seniors’ Homeless Shelter!”