More than 1,500 toys, teddy bears, and gifts will soon head to the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, after the leadership committee at Riverstone Public School wrapped up its festive ‘Distraction Drive’.
The committee, made up of students in Grades 7 and 8, collected the plethora of items, and shared the results with classmates and the rest of the student body at a special assembly at the school on Monday.
Grade 8 student Jessie McLeod says they were surprised to see such a large number for the final tally but is thankful to be part of the team. McLeod adds it’s also taught them the true meaning of leadership.
“I was expected a lot less, actually. I’m really surprised people had this [many] things to give,” McLeod says. “It means showing younger kids how to be… I guess responsible and take care of themselves.”
Grade 7 student Emma Montpellier sums up the experience as something they will never forget. “Very heartwarming, knowing that all of those toys are going to go towards kids,” she adds.
Executive Director of the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation, Keith Curtis, says while also brightening the mood for those looking at a holiday hospital stay, he believes the future is in good hands when it comes to offering continued support to those going through their own medical challenges.
“It’s such a warm and welcoming community, and everybody gives so much and from their heart,” Curtis says. “They know the needs, and they come through without even asking, just a group of people from around the community that just keep coming to us and wonder what they can do to help, and it’s so heartwarming to see.”