Members of the Chateauguay Valley Teachers Association (CVTA) were holding up a different kind of sign while on the picket line in Ormstown this past December.
A group of teachers from Chateauguay Valley Regional High School organized a food drive in support of local food baskets, inside the Galeries Ormstown. The drive took place simultaneously with demonstrations happening outside during public sector strikes by education, health and social services workers.
“We collected over 20 boxes of food and $800 in donations,” says teacher Lisa Evans, who spearheaded the campaign along with fellow CVR teachers Jessica Barrette, Pamela Bussey, and Erica Hamilton.
“We were overwhelmed by the positive response to this initiative,” says Evans, referring both to the participation by CVTA members as well as the generosity of the community who donated food, personal items, gift cards, and cash. Over 40 staff members participated in the food drive, and many more brought their personal donations over after they left the picket lines,” adds Evans.
She says teachers and support staff are very aware of the difficult times some families are having and of the reality of food insecurity within student populations at local schools. “We know. We see our kids,” she says. “There are some at our school that don’t have lunches,” she continues, while noting that students going hungry at the high school level is often less visible. “It’s hidden, but we know it’s there,” she says.
The donated food and financial contributions were given to Ormstown Elementary School to help fill at least 14 food baskets for families, and to the Ormstown Lions Club to help with its annual food drive.