When Misha, 10, Jada, 9, and Zoe, 3, heard that the Abbotsford Food Bank’s supplies were at an all-time low, they decided they wanted to help.
Their father, Vijay Manuel, chair of Abbotsford’s City of Character initiative and vice-principal of W.J. Mouat Secondary School, said his kids reached out to their neighbours in order to help their community.
The kids had recently been at “Character Camp” at Mouat, and had learned about empathy and helping others. It’s a topic they also chat about at home.
Manuel said that after the kids decided to gather food for the local agency, one suggested they ask their neighbours and friends to donate. The idea grew, and soon they were walking up and down the block, knocking on doors to see if anyone wanted to help contribute.
In about 45 minutes, the kids managed to get 171 items. Manuel snapped a photo of his kids with the supplies and posted it on his Facebook page, where the family asked if anyone else wanted to “take the challenge” and raise donations.
The social media post inspired the children of Liz Kahle, a friend of the Manuel family, to see if they could get more donations from their neighbours. Kahle, who works for Abbotsford Community Services, said her kids were aware of the needs of the food bank and wanted to help as well.
Kahle went out with her daughters Molly and Bella, her nephew, and three kids from their neighbourhood, walking door to door. They managed to gather 196 items.
“They enjoyed it, and the next day we went and dropped them off. The food bank gave the kids a tour and showed them what they did.”
Kahle said the kids were thrilled to see what their neighbours were willing to give. They posted a photo on Kahle’s Facebook page, and challenged others to collect donations.
“We’re hoping other families get out in their neighbourhoods and see what they can collect.”
Manuel said the act illustrates the value in listening to the ideas of children.
“There is no politics connected to it – they just want to help somebody.”