Everybody Deserves A Smile qathet (EDAS) is a nonprofit organization, in partnership with Henderson Elementary School, that is gearing up for its fourth year, providing goods during the holiday season for people in need.
According to EDAS qathet team lead Doe Fraser, the organization offers hand-painted bags filled with a homemade card, baked cookies, warm accessories and toiletries.
“The need for these bags has grown, as has the need for community support, with a goal of producing 427 bags this year,” said Fraser. “These bags are the culmination of a heartfelt, intentional program that is offered to the school students aimed at developing and building understanding and empathy of those who are vulnerable in our community.
“It empowers elementary students through education, action, and offering the opportunity for youth social leadership that results in a realization that the students can make a difference.”
Fraser said Henderson School has inspired four other schools to join them on this learning journey. This season, Westview Elementary, Edgehill Elementary and Kelly Creek Community School will help create EDAS hand-painted bags and greeting cards, while foods classes at Brooks Secondary School will help bake and decorate cookies.
EDAS qathet is currently looking for donations of new hats, neck warmers/scarves, part wool socks, ladies’ slippers, large print word search books and toothbrushes, according to Fraser. These donations will be received with gratitude at all school district schools, as well as Knitter’s Nest in the Townsite Market and Powell River Public Library between November 14 and December 14, she added.
EDAS qathet also has hand-painted gift bags, available by donation, at River City Coffee starting on November 15.
Fraser said a community bag-painting evening is organized for those who would like to donate to the project through producing a hand-painted bag. Everyone is welcome at the December 7 drop-in between 6 and 7:30 pm at the Henderson school gym.
“This project is driven by students, fuelled with compassion and supported by community donations of clothing, purchases of hand-painted bags and financial support from First Credit Union, grants-in-aid from City of Powell River and qathet Regional District, as well as the Rotary Club of Powell River and 100+ Women Who Care,” said Fraser.
She said EDAS accepts cash donations by e-transfers at email@example.com, or on edas.ca. All items collected and funds raised stay in the qathet region, she added.
Follow EDAS on Facebook and Instagram @edaspowerfullove.