At the end of August I reached out to a few friends in BC and asked them to help me get winter clothes to the kids of Colville Lake. The Co-op does not sell winter gear and shipping cost makes it hard for many families to access clothing suitable for the weather. In reaching out I had hopped to have about 10 coats and boots shipped up for the kids. I know that shipping costs are ridiculous and the thought of receiving anything more than that did not seem plausible. Word got out that the need was great and people from all over the lower mainland jumped on board to help out. When all was said and done, enough coats, boots, and mittens were sent up for nearly every student at Colville Lake School.
My dear friends, Abbey and Monica, coordinated the clothing drive from the BC side of things. They collected donations of coats and money, packed boxes, and arranged shipping. I am forever grateful to them for their dedication and support.
The average shipping to Colville takes up to 6 weeks. However, in this case things happened WAY faster. The boxes arrived on September 9th. My principal came over and we started sorting. We were blown away by the QUANTITY and QUALITY of items sent. As we were sorting we looked outside and it was snowing sideways. We decided that it would be a shame to make these kids wait even one more day for their coats. He grabbed the school truck and we loaded the back with all the clothing (sorted into size and gender). Jenn and I rode in the back to make sure nothing fell off. Louie and Martin drove up front. The four of us were able to visit every family in Colville Lake. People were blown away and so receptive of the gifts.
The kids put on their new coats, snow pants, and boots right away. The smiles will forever be etched in my mind. They were so proud of their new gear. It was so special for me to know both the giver and the receiver of this gift. Knowing the hearts and generosity behind the gift made the giving all the more sweet.
On behalf of the people of Colville Lake, I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to all who contributed to this gift! Lives have been impacted in such practical ways. Colville Lake is so blessed by your generosity!
Below I have posted pictures of our evening of delivery. I SO wish I could share the pictures of the kids in their new outfits, but due to privacy laws I am not allowed to share pictures of my students. You will just have to take me at my word when I say that they were beyond thrilled and looked so warm.
All but one box arrived at my door on Tuesday!! (the other one couldn't fit on the plane in). It was a minor miracle that the boxes arrived at my door. I don't have an official address. Mail makes it as far as the Co-op. Jenn and I walk down every few days to see if anything has arrived for the school or either of us. Out of the kindness of someones heart they decided to load up their truck and bring me the boxes. I am guessing it was Lloyd, the co-op owner, but who knows.
Louie and Martin were the master sorters :) The first night we gave out everything except the wool socks. We decided to wait until the next day at school to distribute those.
Getting ready to deliver :) The snow stopped for a brief period, but started up again as soon as we were driving. This was the first extended period of time outside with my parka and a few layers of moreno wool. I am not going to lie. I was still frozen. I am going to have to layer more in the future.
Jenn and I ensuring all of our cargo stayed in the truck on the bumpy road.
The above picture is Martin finding the right size for a young boy who was standing just behind him. Martin is probably the hardest working person I have ever met. He had just flown in from a week of meetings in Norman Wells and Yellowknife. He still had a night of work ahead of him in the school, yet he selflessly offered his time and tirelessly lead us on the journey of delivering the coats.
Due to privacy laws I can not post pictures of any kids. So, instead, I will leave you with my smiling face. My heart is happy and my kids are warm. Life is good.