Candygrams for charity

It takes more than a pandemic to stop the Candygram charity tradition at Shuswap Middle School and on February 11th the student representatives of the campaign were able to present a $1,000 cheque to the Salmon Arm Food Bank with proceeds from the event.

Under the leadership of the “Purple Team” students and staff (the school is divided into teams of classes), SMS has once again completed a full Candygram Campaign. This is a long-standing SMS tradition as for more than 10 years Purple Team students have been raising money for community organizations by selling candygrams.  Principal Sydney Griffith comments the campaign involves a lot of work but it is worth it! “It results in lots of fun and connects our SMS learning community to the larger Salmon Arm community, in the spirit of caring. On Thursday February 11th, the student representatives of the campaign presented a cheque for $1,000 to the Salmon Arm Food bank!”

One of SMS’ themes over the past few months has been kindness, explains Griffith. “Expressing kindness takes many forms and volunteerism is a meaningful part of this spirit. Middle school is often a time when children first participate in volunteer work. There may be numerous opportunities to help in the community, which can prove both highly rewarding and beneficial for youth however, it makes sense to organize these efforts through the school, especially during these unusual times.”

“Doing something worthwhile, or helping another person in need, creates an awesome feeling for the volunteers, regardless of age. The feel-good emotions generated from volunteering can be especially important for a child going through the transitional stage of middle school, which is when some students struggle to settle in, or find their own identity. Self-esteem often diminishes during middle school, and many students feel peer pressure, and stressed about the increasing demands of schoolwork. Volunteering gives middle school children the opportunity to take part in something which boosts self-esteem while doing important work.”

For example, adds Griffith, the Salvation Army Food Bank provides groceries to low-income people who register to participate in this important community program. The clients are local people who benefit from this support, especially during this unusual time of COVID.

So How Does the Candygram Campaign Work?
The Candygram campaign takes places just before winter break. The Purple Team students sell candy canes, and students and staff can write personalized messages for friends, classmates, and staff, letting them know they are thinking of them.  She adds the campaign also gives the students some entrepreneurial/career education as the students assemble the messages and candygrams with attractive ribbons and then sort the candygrams by core classes. That was amazing to see in action. The assembly line was a great lesson in production, packaging, and safety. The candygrams are then delivered to classes, respecting the COVID delivery protocols & safety routines that were carefully reviewed by everyone involved. Griffith adds the students and staff enjoy receiving the little treats, reading the fun and positive messages, and of course, eating the candy canes. She said she was very impressed with everyone’s efforts and thanked all those that supported their children in this valuable community-oriented project.

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