Working with charities like this is one of the things I love about my job.
At Regina Catholic Schools-École St. Élizabeth, schoolchildren are learning valuable lessons in how to treat high-level guests and celebrities while also raising money to feed families in need.
Rachel Ling, French-immersion fifth-grade teacher, was inspired to do something to help financially strapped families when a friend shared that he was going through a hard time. He shared that it was even tough to afford milk for his family. Ling, too, remembered searching couch cushions for loose change to buy milk when raising her small children. For families on free or reduced school breakfast and lunch programs, the problem continues even when school is out. That’s when a local food bank helps bridge the gap. But to do that, they need funding.
That’s why the seed was planted for Food for Families, a fundraiser which Ling founded three years ago. The event pairs students with local and national celebrities to paint ceramic plates, which are glazed and then sold, with proceeds benefitting the food bank. Since then, the fundraiser has taken off, garnering support from celebrities, prominent artists and political figures, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as church archbishops.
As a recipient of a 4imprint one by one® grant, Regina Catholic Schools-École St. Élizabeth ordered promotional products for their Food for Families fundraiser volunteers and students, including custom printed aprons and coffee mugs with a logo designed by a student.
“The support has been phenomenal,” Ling says. “I have guests that look forward to this and come back year after year.” And while the fundraiser is helping families in need, it’s also teaching the students valuable lessons. Wearing their custom-printed aprons, they learn how to appropriately welcome their high-profile guests who have come to paint.
“It’s far beyond whatever they could learn in a classroom. It’s a lot of work, but it is so worth it,” she explains. “We practice ahead of time how to greet an archbishop; there are protocols. We practice handshakes ahead of time. We practice how to walk them down to the gym.”
In the end, the students are able to walk up to the esteemed guests with confidence and using the appropriate protocols. “My guests always comment on how wonderful it is because they are so well prepared.”
And perhaps most importantly, families in need are able to prepare food for their children, when it might otherwise be difficult to meet their needs.