Making A Difference - Annual Holiday Hampers
Steve Anderson and Braeden Pistawka

As the holiday season is upon us, Southridge has been busy celebrating many festive holiday traditions including winter concerts, song shares, feasts, and giving. A long-term tradition at Southridge is to make a difference in our community through working together to provide holiday hampers for families in need.  

Through Options Community Services, both our Junior and Senior School students and staff work together in their homerooms/advisories to fulfill local families’ wish lists as well as provide them with some essentials in advance of the holiday season.

Our Kindergarten to Grade 7 classes each receive a low-income/refugee family and work together to fill a hamper with non-perishable supplies, optional gifts/gift cards, and wish list items for each family member. Students are assigned items and encouraged to go shopping with their parents. 

Our Grade 8-12 student advisories work together to support a young family through the Options’ Growing Together Young Parent Outreach and Housing Support Program. This program supports young parents who are attending pre or post-secondary school and highlights the challenges that these young families face as they balance school, living, childcare, and financial responsibilities. It has also become a tradition each year for our Grade 11 students to be responsible for organizing the items, collecting money to purchase wish list items, and coordinating the gift wrapping of the hampers.

The hamper drive is a long-standing tradition, one that has been passed on for many years, and one that our students look forward to each year. In fact, it is such an important tradition that some of our alumni continue to contribute to the program through supporting a few families through our Alumni Association as well.

We are thankful to our community for being so generous and supportive of this initiative which helps us make a difference in the lives of almost 50 families every year. Giving to others is a rewarding and important experience for children, as they learn to be caring and respectful community members.

Contributed by Steve Anderson, Junior School Vice Principal - Student Life and Braeden Pistawka, Senior School Vice Principal - Student Life