St. Paul Catholic School Providing Support to Hope House Guelph’s Food Market

St. Paul Catholic School is supporting Hope House Guelph’s Food Market through a school wide donation drive. 

Answering a call to support from Hope House, St. Paul’s Parent Council is requesting their school community ‘fill a box’ with items in need over the last two weeks of April leading into a donation date on April 30. 

“During this unprecedented time, we still want to give back to the community in ways that are safe and beneficial to as many people as possible. It has been challenging to do these initiatives this year because of the uncertainty of what we can do because of public health protocols and whether the students are even in the school to participate.  With this last pivot to online school from home, we thought it was a good opportunity to come up with something that the kids could do from home with families, teachers could promote, discuss with their students, while helping the community but also follow public health protocols,” shared Lisa Keenan, volunteer parent member on St. Paul Parent Council. “We have an amazing St. Paul Parent Community, so we knew we could take on this campaign from home.”

Operating on Cork Street in Guelph, Hope House Guelph provides tangible, compassionate assistance and care to those in the Guelph community and abroad. Among the many services they provide to the community is the Hope House Food Market – a choice based community food pantry open to all individuals who need a helping hand.

Through the drive, Hope House has identified canned goods, cereals and personal hygiene supplies as items of need.

“We tried to make it easy for families by assigning an item for each day - based on Hope House noted current needs, but also not wanting to put pressure on our St. Paul families by noting that we would take any or all donation items,” explained Keenan. “St. Paul Parent Council always has the incredible support of our parent community, principal, teachers and staff.  We have an extraordinary support system at St. Paul.”

Julie Malone and Julie Barr, teachers at St. Paul, have assisted the Parent Council in their promotion of the drive from within the school.

“We always do food drives at school both in the fall and spring and we were unable to have them this year due to the pandemic.  We've always had great responses from our parent community during food drives and other initiatives so we thought that we would try this and see if there was a good response if all they had to do was deliver their items to the school.  Usually a class or two will take on the initiative and provide posters and announcements to promote it throughout the school community,” shared Malone.

Providing donations not only supports the community, but teaches students the value in helping those in need while also raising awareness of the services offered to families in Guelph.

“Young children love to help out and 'fill each other's buckets'.  We often discuss through our Religion program and through our being kind initiatives at school that we should think of others and do all that we can to help make others happy as well.   We often take the approach of discussing how the kids feel if they are cold or hungry and how it's not a comfortable feeling.  We take those feelings and imagine that by just donating one or two items that we could help someone else who is cold or hungry and how good that would make both us and the recipient feel.  It's always a great discussion and great teaching moment,” said Malone.

The school community is encouraged to fill a box for Hope House Guelph’s Food Market and drop their box of items off at the front door of the school on April 30 between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Should families miss the deadline of April 30, items can be dropped off directly to Hope House.