The goal of the Social Justice Team at St. Marie of the Incarnation Catholic School in Bradford is straightforward: “To bring awareness of issues in our community and globally to the whole school.”
The students, led by teachers Ms. Raftis and Ms. Roy, achieve their goal through a number of initiatives, including Silent Day – a WE are Silent event raising awareness of the importance of education and children’s rights – and a three-week-long food drive for the Helping Hand Food Bank, that just wrapped up on Friday.
Hunger is an important issue in the community, with the number of people using the local food bank increasing each year. The food drive - called “St. Marie Scares Hunger” because it overlapped with Halloween - collected a whopping 4,300 items, with every classroom participating.
“We surpassed last year by 1,000 items,” said teacher Michelle Raftis.
The Social Justice Team encouraged classes to bring in donations of non-perishable food, collected the daily donations, and kept track of the number of items – creating a chart, where each dot represented 10 items. Then they packed everything up in boxes, for the food bank to pick up.
The total was boosted by a friendly competition between the school’s two Grade 8 classes. On the line were bragging rights, a pizza lunch, and treats – and Ms. Hawes’ Grade 8s won, bringing in 1,050 items, to their opponents’ 709.
“It’s been a long three weeks,” said Raftis, as she surveyed the pile of boxes in the foyer – but the team is already planning its next initiative: filling Christmas shoeboxes with small gifts and items for people in need.