The Gleaner

Striking teachers step up for the community

Members of the Chateauguay Valley Teachers Association (CVTA) were holding up a different kind of sign while on the picket line in Ormstown on December 13.

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 the sixth straight day of public sector strikes by education, health and social services workers affiliated with the Front commun.

“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. “We got a great response and people very much appreciated what we were doing, as well as the opportunity to help,” she adds.


Teachers from the Chateauguay Valley Teachers Association CVTA held a food drive in Ormstown on December 13 in support of holiday food baskets for Ormstown Elementary School and the Ormstown Lions Club food drive PHOTO CVTA


To help promote the food drive, the teachers revived their “Teach, Love, Help” initiative, which was started during the early days of the pandemic in support of front-line workers. The leaders of the common front group of unions had suggested striking members replace some of their time on picket lines by volunteering. “When we put it out to staff, we had tons of volunteers,” Evans says.

Over 40 staff members participated in the food drive, either by reaching out to community partners, creating signs and other forms of publicity, or by collecting, boxing, and delivering the donated items. “Many staff and support staff members brought their personal donations over after they left the picket lines,” adds Evans.


Volunteer teachers took some time away from the picket lines on December 13 to help ensure local families have enough to eat over the holidays They collected 20 boxes of donated food as well as $800 in donations PHOTO Sarah Rennie


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. Evans says people seemed pleased that the donations would be used to help local families.

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