Kinsmen give back to the community with Hot Paws project
The Prince Albert Kinsmen Club continues a special tradition that began six years ago when the organization donated gloves and hats to students at Riverside Public School.
Since then, the program has expanded to more schools in the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division and the Prince Albert Catholic School Division. Brad Amy and Wes Moore, members of the Prince Albert Kinsmen, were part of the team that delivered to St Michael Community School on Friday morning.
“Our club motto is to meet the greatest needs of the community and there is a need in our community to keep the children warm and safe,” Amy said. “We started a Hot Paws project and it just kept growing. It’s like a $7,000 gift to the community and it’s about giving back to the kids.”
When the program began, careers counselors and social workers suggested gloves and hats would be appropriate gifts for the students. The winter clothes are packed and each student is allowed to open a present.
Pupils from St Catherine’s, St Michael’s, John Diefenbaker and Princess Margaret received gloves, neckwarmers and bonnets on Friday. In total, the Kinsmen gave out about 470 pieces of winter clothing.
The program is funded through several events hosted by the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club.
Amy counted down from 10 before the students opened their packages at St. Michael and John Diefenbaker.
At St. Michael’s, students were invited to sing “Frosty the Snowman” during the presentation in the school’s theater room. After the morning break, John Diefenbaker’s students from grades 1 through 4 stood in the common area before Moore and Amy distributed the gifts.
John Diefenbaker director Roy Feschuk said the gifts were well timed.
“We are in a place of need that I have never seen in many years as an educator,” Feschuk said. “When you have organizations like the Kinsmen and the Kinettes that are willing to take some time off of what they do on a daily basis in an instant, … it brightens the lives of our children here.”
The Kinsmen Club gets a deal for winter gear, which comes from Canadian company Hot Paws. Feschuk said the students were very happy to receive the packages.
“The expressions we got were ‘I’ve been waiting for this for weeks,’ ‘Oh I was hoping I’d get a new hat,’ and the kids were just beaming,” he explained. “It was a simple gift. It was hats and mittens and neck warmers and the kids just loved it because now they can go outside and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of where we live. The Kinsmen know what it takes to put a smile on kids’ faces and they keep coming back.”
Amy and Moore distributed the gifts at both schools. They were joined by other members of the Kinsmen throughout the day when time permitted.
Moore explained that each of the departments is helpful in delivering the packages.
“We work with school departments and ask them where the greatest need is, and then we respond to that.”