(Photos provided by Eryn Konkle)
The volunteer parents council at A. Lorne Cassidy Elementary School (ALC) is known for their incredible support of sister school Carleton Heights Elementary (CHE). In August, Stittsville Central shared how ALC had raised funds to build an enhanced playground for the youngest Carleton Heights students aged 4-6. An anonymous local donor amazingly came forward to match every dollar that ALC raised up to $30,000.
The generosity of the parents council, students and teachers does not end there. It was in 2016 that the need at Carleton Heights was brought to the attention of the parents council by the previous Principal at Carleton Heights – Andrew Canham. At that time ALC committed to donating money to the CHE council. ALC’s donations and support continue to this day with various activities being held throughout every year to support their sister school.
Eryn Konkle is the Co-Chair of the parents council and she related a story to me of how the Giving Baskets for Carleton Heights came to be. In December 2016, her daughter Annika asked if their family could donate ‘Christmas’ to a family in need. Eryn knowing that a need undoubtedly existed at Carleton Heights, she reached out to the school to ask “if they had a family they could sponsor?”. “They laughed and told me there was a huge need for something like this in the school. I asked how many families they could give me and their response was “How many can you take?”.
Eryn took it to the next step, she brought the news to the parents council meeting to say her family would be sponsoring a family from CHE. At the meeting and within no time, five other families stepped up and joined in.
From 2016 onwards, ALC has supported Carleton Heights families every year at Christmas. In 2017, the school was able to provide 23 families with a Christmas to remember. And, in 2018 the number had increased closer to 30 families. ALC provides huge bins to CHE for each family where there is a need. ALC have titled this generous initiative as their ‘Giving Baskets’ mission.
Every basket delivered to the CHE school contains grocery gift cards; warm hats and mittens for every family member; each child receives a new pair of pajamas; gifts of toys for the children; and, a small gift for each adult in the household. This is no easy task. Carleton Heights provides the ALC parents council with a list of the families most in need. From this, items donated from the families of the ALC students, are matched to each CHE family, sorted – ensuring that sizing is correct and age appropriate, donations all wrapped and the bins filled to the brim. All performed through voluntary hours by the teachers, students and parents.
ALC collects the donations for two to three weeks, starting the last week of November and ending the second week of December. A drop-off night is also held when students stay late and parents can make an evening drop of items. Above and beyond the ‘Giving Baskets’, ALC also collects used coats, boots, skates and helmets to give to the CHE school.
Mitts are always a priority for the baskets, so if you can donate a pair of new, good quality mittens, ALC would love to receive them. ALC is located at 27 Hobin Street and you can drop off your donation of mitts at the school office during the day.
And, that is not all, any abundance of toys that have been donated are re-gifted to Toy Mountain.
Carleton Heights Elementary School is so fortunate to have A. Lorne Cassidy at hand to support them. These bighearted projects make life so much richer for the students and families of both schools.