Warm Winter Wishes campaign launched at Wellington Heights

MOUNT FOREST – The Warm Winter Wishes campaign was launched officially on Nov. 22 at Wellington Heights Secondary School with a two-week homeroom food hamper challenge.

Students and staff have been challenged to gather the most non-perishable food items they can for their homerooms, with pizza being the prize for the winning homeroom. There is a special item for each day of the food hamper challenge, where points are doubled, and the recipients of the collected items will be those served by the Mount Forest and Arthur Food Banks.

The Warm Winter Wishes non-profit program was created by former business teacher Barb Cowen, who designed it as an experiential learning opportunity for her Grade 12 Business Leadership students.

The goal of the program is to raise funds that are used to purchase food, toys, clothing and gifts for needy students and their families across Wellington North. In 2019, students raised $44,089 at the school for this very purpose in Cowen’s last year of the program before her retirement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on everything, and the Warm Winter Wishes program was no exception, due to public health restrictions on events and fundraising activities,” school officials state in a press release.

“Thanks to a donation last year from the Dufferin Mutual Insurance Company, the Warm Winter Wishes program was still able to provide some funds to students at seven different schools in Wellington North during a holiday season when people were in need more than ever,” the release notes.

This year, Warm Winter Wishes has expanded into a school-wide affair through a committee that includes business leadership students and their teacher, C.J. Lopez, the WHSS Staff Association, Student Council, and Athletic Council.

Although still impacted by public health restrictions and protocols, there are still many activities planned in COVID-friendly ways for this year’s campaign, including the food hamper campaign, a dodgeball tournament, silent auctions, bake sales, cotton candy sales, staff lunches, a sock drive, and a chili cook off.

The school is also inviting donations from local businesses and citizens of cash, or donations of items for one of the silent auctions for students or staff.

Interested donors can contact Business teacher, CJ Lopez (christiane.lopez@ugdsb.on.ca or 519-323-3430 ext. 512) or Principal Brent Bloch (brent.bloch@ugdsb.on.ca or 519-323-3430 ext. 222) to make their donations.