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Students and staff deliver Christmas hampers to Salvation Army

Adrian Lysenko
Northern News Services
Published Friday, December 17, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Close to 300 St. Patrick High School staff and students formed a human chain to deliver Christmas hampers for the Salvation Army on Wednesday.

NNSL photo/graphic

Renee Kalgutkar and Paul Valenzuela, Grade 9 students at St. Patrick High School, participate in a human chain delivering Christmas hampers to the Yellowknife Salvation Army on Wednesday. - Adrian Lysenko/NNSL photo

Traffic was redirected as the 22 Christmas hampers travelled hand to hand from the back of the high school's gym to the Salvation Army across the street.

"It's part of giving back to our community, taking care of those in need (and) taking care of those less fortunate than us," said Susan Huvenaars, a career counsellor at the school. "The students and staff gather money or bring in food items and in the past we were able to deliver them to families but last year we weren't able to do that so we made a human chain."

The hamper drive has been a tradition at the school for years.

"For longer than I've been here St. Pat's has been adopting families through the adopt-a-family program at Salvation Army," said Huvenaars. "Somebody who's been here for a while recalled that it was actually students who started it."

Each homeroom adopts a family and students are in charge of keeping track of items to bring in.

"There are a lot of homeless, hungry and needy people out there, not just in the world but here in town," said Pascal Erasmus, a Grade 10 student at the school.

The Salvation Army was still taking donations for Christmas hampers during the week.

"It's really neat to see young people taking responsibility like this," said Maj. Dale Sobool of the Salvation Army. "I think it's great that they take that initiative and they want to make sure that everyone knows that it's a good thing to give to charities. Without all that help we surely couldn't do all the work we do."

The event has made a lasting impression on students, according to Huvenaars.

"The human chain got a couple of mentions during grad last year so it certainly has an impact on the students as well, just being able to be a part of something that made such a difference in people's lives," said Huvenaars.

The hampers are much appreciated in the city, according to Sobool.

"Every bit that we gather, wherever it comes from, supports and helps to meet the needs in the community with people that just don't have enough to go around," said Sobool.

"With the cost of living up here that's quite intense, there's a lot of people who struggle on that bottom dollar. Not everyone makes the big bucks and those who do seem to want to help out."

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