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How a ‘pivot’ by R.E. Mountain Secondary School students paid off for 22 local families – and the food bank

When they couldn’t collect donations the usual way, they found another way
At R.E. Mountain Secondary school in Langley, Kaylyn Williams, Brandon Chow, the Food Bank’s Jim Calamunce, and Julia Cotton held a socially-distant – and masked – cheque presentation (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

When some students at R.E. Mountain Secondary in Langley had to adjust their annual campaign for families in need because of the pandemic, it went better than expected.

So much better, they ended up presenting a cheque to Langley Food Bank executive director Jim Calamunce on Monday, Feb. 8.

School vice principal Jennifer Koehler explained that “in a normal year, we would collect pounds and pounds of food and deliver hampers to the families, so the kids had to pivot a bit.”

This year, the students decided to raise money with candygrams, where messages are sent, with candy canes attached, for a fee. There was an online donation initiative as well.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Memories of R.E. Mountain Secondary school celebrated

It all got off to a slow start, student Julia Cotton recalled.

“The first day we were selling the candygrams, we had maybe three sales,” Cotton described.

Kaylyn Williams remembered being concerned.

“It was really, really slow and we started to get worried,” William said.

Then, it took off.

Brandon Chow said they “thought it was going to be tough, but it went better than expected.”

“We ended up doubling our target” Cotton said.

It may be a record, Koehler thinks.

And that was how 22 families were assisted, 12 of them with food hampers, and enough was left over to write the food bank a cheque for $1,000.

Cotton, Williams and Chow presented the donation to Calamunce.

“We all wanted to do something to help the community, especially during the pandemic,” Chow told the Langley Advance Times.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: First fill-the-police-car fundraiser generates big donations

Calamunce was delighted.

“I got a phone call that ‘we’ve got a cheque’,” Calamunce recounted.

“This is very kind of them.”

The initiative was the work of the student Rec Leadership program started by R.E. Mountain teacher Kirk Weiss, 11 years ago.

“Rec” used to stand for recreation, but the program has evolved considerably,thanks to the students initiative, Weiss said.

“It’s become so much more,” Weiss remarked.

“They’re great kids.”

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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