Mitts for Kids warm hands and spirits

Red Canadian Olympic mittens are the in-demand item for spectators at the Winter Games, and thanks to a unique fundraising effort, many of Vancouver's school children are sporting the mitts as they cheer on Canada's athletes.

More importantly, the fundraiser injected $24,000 into the school district's hot lunch program that feeds 6,500 children who might not otherwise get a nutritious meal during the school day. One dollar from every $10 raised to purchase a pair of mitts was donated to the school meals program.

The Mitts for Kids campaign, founded by Vancouver philanthropist Mary Ann Clark, raised $240,000 to provide 24,000 red Canadian Olympic mitts, enough for all students in Kindergarten through Grade 2 across the Vancouver School District.

What started off as a small-scale program took off when private citizens stepped up to sponsor schools that they had a personal connection with. In some cases, donors sponsored their alma mater, while others sponsored schools close to their homes and business. Corporate and private donors adopted 62 entire elementary schools, providing mitts for all K-7 students in those schools.

Students at Waverley Elementary got a chance to personally thank Clark when Principal Karen Chalmers staged an assembly for the occasion. More than 100 students, each wearing their red mitts and red clothing, performed a lively song written about the mitts. A couple of students also presented Clark with a handmade scarf featuring a Canadian flag design.

"There has been great excitement among many of the children when the mitts were delivered and thousands of our students, wearing the mitts which your program provided, watched the torch as it made its way through the city," Vancouver Board of Education Chairperson Patti Bacchus wrote in a letter thanking Clark for the fundraising initiative.

Whether you are a VSB graduate, parent, former teacher, employer, service club or community member committed to public education, the Vancouver School Board offers many opportunities for involvement. If you are interested in supporting and enriching our programs go to www.vsb.bc.ca/donate-vsb for more information.

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