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Letter: Burnaby kids didn't let COVID-19 stop them from helping food bank

Seaforth school has raised thousands of dollars for the food bank
Food drive pic
Ashaan Gulamhussein attends Seaforth Elementary in Burnaby. Photo submitted


“Mom, guess what I did at school today?”

“Mmmmm, got another A?”

The last thing Ashaan Gulamhussein’s mom expected to hear was how he and his school student leadership team had already raised over $6,800 (and counting) for the food bank (in a matter of days) by creating a virtual school food drive.

For 26 years, Seaforth Elementary School has helped those less fortunate through a food drive, with their annual Jingle Bell Walk.

Students normally would hand deliver flyers in the neighbourhood and ask for food/cash donations. Seaforth staff and students would collect the food donations from the community and parents would sort the donations, before the food was delivered to the local food bank. Each year, the food donations would come pouring in. 

This year, however, was very different with all the COVID-19 restrictions. Staff and students did not want the food bank to suffer and so the student leadership team was told to brainstorm alternative methods to collect the donations.

Mr. Hodges, the head teacher at Seaforth had the student leadership team, Ashaan, Jason, Katie and Victoria, take on the project. Rather than cancel the annual Jingle Bell walk (to collect food donations for the food bank), the student leadership team decided to do a virtual food drive to continue the Seaforth tradition of giving back to the community.

Collecting food donations certainly looked different this year due to the pandemic; however, this did not stop the Seaforth students from collecting donations for the food bank. Ashaan and his peers created a school website to collect donations and the school’s annual Jingle Bell Walk continued. The entire school hand delivered flyers asking for cash donations to the school site and the community immediately responded with open hearts.

The goal by the student leadership team was to raise $5,000 for the food bank, however they raised over $6,800 in less than one week, translating to three times the value in food ($19,200). Donations can still be made at

Not a bad answer for “Mom, guess what I did at school today?”   

Parm Sanghera, Burnaby