Andrea Fossum’s donation to Carmi Elementary as part of her Penticton Wide School Donation Drive came as a happy surprise for staff and students on Sept. 5.
“I haven’t had this kind of donation before for supplies,” said Dave Ritchie, principal at the school. “We do have some individuals who have contributed food or funds for our breakfast program in the past, but supplies are usually supported by organizations.”
Carmi Elementary was just one of multiple schools to receive a bin full of school supplies thanks to Fossum’s Penticton Wide School Donation Drive that she ran from July 21 to Sept. 4. Ritchie noted that the number of families struggling to afford supplies for school seems to be increasing each year.
“I think that as costs continue to grow, it can be difficult for families to make ends meet and we do see an increasing number of families who struggle to be able to afford supplies,” said Ritchie.
As more children and families are affected by poverty or low-income and rising costs of living, community organizations and schools are stepping up to make sure students have everything they need for success.
“We are fortunate to have generous sponsors like the Rotary Club, who sponsor the Starfish Backpack program — this provides groceries for families over the weekend. We have the Penticton Speedway and community members supporting our breakfast program and the school district lunch program for several families,” said Ritchie.
And for those fearing that a student receiving extra support may be singled out or alienated, Ritchie says the staff work to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“We work hard not to allow this to be a stigma. Resources are often shared in classes ensuring no one is singled out or appearing to be without,” said Ritchie.
As for the items Carmi Elementary received from Fossum’s charity drive? Ritchie says the school will share them amongst all students to “support projects they are working on in classes.”
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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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