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Showing that good things come in small (care) packages

Wellesley students Kate Rudy and Ashley MacGillivray were able to bring in boxes-worth of canned fruit, water, tooth paste and other essentials through their fundraiser. The donations have taken over Rudy’s living room for the time being, and the pair plans to deliver them to a homeless shelter in Toronto. [FAISAL ALI / The Observer]

When Wellesley Public School students Kate Rudy and Ashley MacGillivray were asked what they were passionate about, they not only came back with an answer, they decided to do something more about it. Partnering together, the two Grade 7 students put together a school-wide fundraiser for their project, in what can certainly be described as an A+ effort.

“It’s called a Passion Project. What happens is you choose a project that you’re passionate about, and you write an essay and a slide show presentation about it. We chose homelessness and, as an add-on, we did a fundraiser,” explains Rudy.

“We figured out how horrible the homelessness in Toronto has gotten and we really wanted to help in some way,” adds MacGillivray. Every week, their class would watch the CNN news broadcast, and the two students say they were motivated by the CNN Heroes segment to come up with way to make a difference.

Rudy and MacGillivray wrote their own separate essays as part of the project, and are working on a joint presentation to the class. But the two certainly went above and beyond what was expected when they organized a school-wide fundraiser, which they incorporated into the overall project.

“We mostly wrote about the stats about homelessness and how bad it is,” says Rudy of their essays. “But then we had a couple paragraphs about our fundraiser.”

“In mine, I wrote about different types of shelters in Canada,” says MacGillivray.

The students reached out to a shelter in Toronto, the Good Shepherd Ministries, to find out what they and their patrons needed the most in terms of donations. And with the information handy, they then decided to split their fundraising effort in two parts.

Some of the core items collected during the drive to make care packages for the homeless. Items will be delivered to a Toronto shelter. [FAISAL ALI / The Observer]

For the first part, students in Grades 1 to 6 were asked to donate items that they could use to create individualized “care packages” for the homeless. These would include a host of essentials, like band-aids, tissues, canned-fruit, toothpaste and toothbrushes, granola bars and water. Kindergarteners and Grade 7 and 8 students, meanwhile, were asked to bring in money.

All in all, Rudy and MacGillivray were able to raise $151, above their set goal of $100. And the two had enough items donated to create 95 full care packages, with plenty of supplies of granola bars, tissues and more left over to donate in bulk. Everything they raised is going to the Good Shepherd, which will no doubt be able to put largesse to good use.

“The school did an amazing job bringing in items,” notes MacGillivray of her schoolmates.

Even before starting their own fundraiser, and despite being only 12 years of age, the two have already done an impressive amount to give back to the community.

“Well, we’re both on the WE Team at our school, but that’s more of a group thing. But this time it’s just us,” Rudy.

The WE Team at the school organizes a number of charitable projects, divided into two categories, they explain: community and international.

“So we just finished one. It was book sale, and it was to raise money for education in India. So that was a project we just did. And then we did a community one a little while ago. It was like a sock fundraiser called Toasty Toes,” the Kitchener-based charity, says MacGillivray.

With the fundraising over and the care packages made, the last step is to take the goods to Toronto.And so committed are the students to the project, they will be taking a day during their March Break to load a big truck with all of the supplies and deliver them to the Good Shepherd.

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