First-year success for Turkey Can challenge

Photo: Ed Sweeney

"It all started last year," said QHS Community Learning Centre Coordinator, Ed Sweeney. "When Mr. Thomson and I saw the work that was put into the Eastern Quebec Learning Centre's annual Christmas dinner".

It was then that they were inspired to create a happening at their own school to help contribute to the Community Christmas Hamper Campaign.

"My first year I told the kids I would spend one night in the card board "homeless" shelter that was constructed in front of the main office if they could raise $800 in donations," said Thomson with a smile on his face.

"My back still aches from that night, but it was worth every penny," he added.

This year, the Work Oriented Training Path students came along and together with the administration helped launch a Turkey Can challenge to the schools of the CQSB in the Quebec City region.
The goal was to help ease the financial burden of the Community Hamper Campaign by raising enough money to purchase the turkeys needed for the hamper give-away. Schools were contacted and even visited by members of the WOTP program to explain and promote the challenge.

Once all schools had been contacted the group was able to place 117 cans in classrooms throughout the city. If they could reach a small target of $20 per can, the cost of one turkey, the challenge would be considered a huge success. When all the money was counted the principals, staff and students from the participating schools were overjoyed to hear that $3244 was raised. This represented $27 per can!

"If you add this total to the additional thousand dollars raised by the Eastern Quebec Learning Centre's International luncheon plus all the food donated by the students you begin to grasp the power of community and generosity generated by families associated with our local English-speaking schools within the Central Quebec School Board," said Community Christmas Hamper Campaign President, Bob Stewart.

The students from the WOTP seemed to be having a ball with the campaign. "What was neat for us was going back to the elementary schools to collect the cans and seeing the publicity posters that were made by the students to promote the challenge," said WOTP student, Soraya Lafrenierre.

One highlight that occurred during the rolling of all the coins was when a student lifted one of the cans and was concerned that it felt rather light. The concern changed to joy when two $20 bills came sliding out onto the table to join the few coins.

"You are right sir; paper does weigh less than metal"!
Paul Hinton, who oversaw the challenge at two CQSB schools, thought it would be a great symbol if we took a picture with the WOTP students and school principal, Lorne Lemarquand, in front of the Teamwork Billboard outside the main office.

"That is exactly what this was all about," said EQLC director, Bruce Willet. "Team Work".

When asked how each school did individually Sweeney replied, "$3244"!

He added, "St. Patrick High School principal, Stephen Pigeon, and I agreed that on the basketball court, soccer field, or ruby pitch we will compete against each other, but during this campaign we competed WITH each other, and that is why we are reporting only one figure".