Central Alberta Students Make Christmas Meaningful Through Coin Drive

Ponoka Christian School (PCS) is a quaint 88-student elementary and junior high school located in the farming community of Ponoka, Central Alberta. When one first meets these kids, they seem to be all innocent giggles and dimples.  But this student body is making an ongoing extraordinary impact in the fight to end poverty.  

Most kids spend the weeks before Christmas creating wish lists and playing pond hockey, but this special group of young Albertans instead dove head-first into their second annual coin-drive benefiting kids in Food for the Hungry's development programs around the world.  

It started last year when PCS teacher, Miss Heidi Prins, guided her 24 kindergarten and Grade 1 students through a spare-change drive.  “Even at this young age, they are aware of needs around the world.  So you give them a chance to help, and, well they are on it. It may seem small – each of them collecting change – but it’s a big deal to them!”  

It turned out to be a big deal to their families as well. At the end of their drive, they presented Food for the Hungry (FH) with a zip-lock baggie containing $220. Then as a class they browsed the Gift Guide, held a vote, and with their $220 funded sports equipment, a chalkboard, school supplies, and Kids’ Breakfast Club. 

FH and their parents were so proud of this class and what they had accomplished for kids in developing communities around the world. But then came this year.  

FH received a call from Miss Prins early in the fall, clarifying when to expect this year’s Gifts for Change Gift Guide. The school’s Student Council loved what Miss Prins’ class accomplished last year and wanted to do it again.

Emily, a Grade 8 student, was one of several student council members who helped make it happen again this year. “It is important that we did this. There are families in other communities that don’t even have food or water. By doing this simple fundraiser we can help them in their daily lives.”

This past Christmas the school raised $1800 and, through the FH Gift Guide, designated the funds towards agricultural farming and access to clean water for families.  All in all, they funded 12 goats and 12 faucets! We asked a few students why they made these choices and were impressed with their thoughtful perspectives.

They were probably walking to a lake for water.  But now, a faucet will give them clean water!  And clean water is healthy!” - Kristen, Grade 1
The mom goats will keep getting babies, and they [the farming family] will give them away.  And then, babies will grow up and they will get meat and milk from them!” - Corey, Grade 1
The goats, they can use their fur [hides] and maybe make stuff out of them, like bedding or clothes.  And that would be good.  If they have the faucets, then they can both get water and nothing bad can get in the water.” - Noah, Grade 1

When asked if it was worth it, Grade 4 student Sydnie firmly nodded. “I can help people have a better life.” 

The school itself stands beside the statement, “There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’; it’s about working together.” What started as a lesson on giving back for this small class in central Alberta is now an annual Christmas highlight impacting their entire student community. 

Thank you to this special class and the generous and caring families in Ponoka. Well done kids!



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Food for the Hungry: Central Alberta Students Make Christmas Meaningful Through Coin Drive
Central Alberta Students Make Christmas Meaningful Through Coin Drive
Food for the Hungry
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