Community Profile : Everybody Deserves A Smile Delivers Heartfelt Packages
Everybody deserves to feel loved and cared for, no matter what their story. This is the guiding principle behind Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS), a grassroots community project that started 17 years ago to bring a smile to people experiencing homelessness during the winter holidays.
Fairview Community School students from kindergarten to grade 7 are creating and assembling packages for people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo this December. The packages will include wool socks, hand sanitizer and delicious cookies donated by a local baker. Organizers have also reached out to dental offices for donations of toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Students in grades 6 and 7 are organizing donations and assembling the packages. The younger students are decorating the packages using their own artwork and creating cards with heart-felt wishes. Their personal touches are heartwarming.
“Fairview School has the kindest, most empathetic group of students I’ve ever met,” says Christina Renneberg, EDAS organizer and grade 2 teacher. “Some children wanted to donate their allowance money, one child wanted to build a tree fort for people experiencing homelessness and another wanted to invite people to live at their house. The students really love to help and make a difference.”
While working on the EDAS project, teachers include an educational component around homelessness. Students learn to take action and inspire their communities to develop deeper understanding of the world of homelessness.
“Our goal this year is to complete 500 packages to be given to those living on the streets of Nanaimo,” says Renneberg.
Individuals and businesses can support EDAS by sending cash donations by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “For Nanaimo” in the message/note section, as this project is active in many communities.
“We’re grateful for any donations. We understand that people may want to contribute, but aren’t able to financially,” says Renneberg. “If you’d like to email a kind message, we’ll happily include it in a package too.”
Donations will be accepted until December 15 and teachers will be delivering the packages on December 17 and 18.