Adalynn Janveaux hangs a Christmas ornament, with the help of teacher Christine Scott, on a tree branch near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Adalynn Janveaux hangs a Christmas ornament, with the help of teacher Christine Scott, on a tree branch near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chilliwack Central students learn community outreach is giving and receiving

Downtown elementary school pivots on traditional Christmas activities in face of pandemic rules

It’s been a year of change in schools, and that’s been especially true around beloved Christmas events.

At Chilliwack Central elementary, one of the long-standing traditions is a turkey dinner for their families. Since that would not be in line with the provincial health orders, but is such an important part of the school’s outreach, they decided to find a new way to share a meal with everyone.

Instead of the usual meal and gathering at the school, the ingredients for a healthy family meal were sent off with students to bring home. The packages included pancake mix, sausages, oranges, juice and more.

Parcels of food for a full family breakfast have gone home to Chilliwack Central elementary families, to spread some holiday cheer this season. (Leslie Waddington/ Submitted)

Parcels of food for a full family breakfast have gone home to Chilliwack Central elementary families, to spread some holiday cheer this season. (Leslie Waddington/ Submitted)

“It’s definitely a year of doing things differently,” said Chilliwack Central’s principal Leslie Waddington. “But to our surprise some wonderful ideas and things have happened.”

The meal packages sent home were put together with partners, the Central Community Society, Freshco and the Monarch Lions Club. They also had the help of some volunteer students from Chilliwack secondary school to help with the logistics of packing all that food up.

Every single family at the school has received a package, or has one still coming to them.

Waddington says the school always receives generous support from the community, and that the giving from the community echoes the school’s own core values.

One family, the Aarts, has stepped up and will be providing an individual packed lunch for each student and staff member, in lieu of their annual turkey lunch.

Chilliwack Central elementary staff and volunteers are working at finding different ways of celebrating the holidays with their students and their families this year, as the pandemic has forced the cancellation of many long-running traditions at the school. (Leslie Waddington/ Submitted)

Chilliwack Central elementary staff and volunteers are working at finding different ways of celebrating the holidays with their students and their families this year, as the pandemic has forced the cancellation of many long-running traditions at the school. (Leslie Waddington/ Submitted)

They also have a mitten tree in the school, which is full of hats, scarves, and of course, mittens, that anyone can take from if needed. That was donated by the Goldwing Road Riders Club and a former parent.

And Rollie Lacompte, who has given to the school in the past with his wife, Jean, has also donated to the school this year. Jean passed away in the spring, but Rollie continues to give.

“We are given to very generously by our community – the list is long,” Waddington says. “We also try to teach our students that they have lots to give as well.”

A tag on the ornament reads “A small gift for you to keep! We hope it brightens your day. Your friends at Central elementary.” It is one of many Christmas ornaments that Central elementary students have placed in their neighbourhood around the school. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A tag on the ornament reads “A small gift for you to keep! We hope it brightens your day. Your friends at Central elementary.” It is one of many Christmas ornaments that Central elementary students have placed in their neighbourhood around the school. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

And that means the students have been doing some outreach too. Literally.

They have been going around the downtown area of Chilliwack over the past few days, leaving ornaments around for others to find. The ornaments are free to take home and enjoy, and the kids have learned about giving selflessly.

Waddington says the small tokens are just meant to brighten people’s days.

Teacher Christine Scott helps a student hang a Christmas ornament on a nail near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Teacher Christine Scott helps a student hang a Christmas ornament on a nail near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Ivett Herrera Werneburg hangs a Christmas ornament on some holly near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Ivett Herrera Werneburg hangs a Christmas ornament on some holly near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Kira Rivet walks away after hanging her Christmas ornament on a fence near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Kira Rivet walks away after hanging her Christmas ornament on a fence near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A Christmas ornament hangs on some holly near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A Christmas ornament hangs on some holly near Central elementary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

READ MORE: Chilliwack’s oldest school, Central elementary, celebrates 90 years

READ MORE: Chilliwack volunteer recognized for 20 years at Central elementary


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