Carlton High School spreads warmth to Prince Albert’s vulnerable

Rachelle Kraus' homeroom students make bags of winter items and candy to donate to Prince Albert's The Gate and Our House. (PACarlton/Twitter)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

“We went from an empty storage closet to a room that is just bursting at the seams.” – Lori Amy

Students and staff at Carlton Comprehensive High School are gifting winter necessities to the less fortunate this holiday season.

Three separate school initiatives are collectively distributing winter clothing, non-perishable food items and hygiene products like deodorant and shampoo.

One of the school’s counsellors, Rachelle Kraus, is leading one initiative involving ‘bags of goodness.’

“This is my 27th year as an educator and so I’m always trying to teach kids about giving back,” she said.

Each bag contains a toque, a pair of mitts, a pair of socks, a candy cane and chocolate.

Her homeroom class of about 15 students and her group called Girls of Greatness have been advertising to encourage families to donate winter clothing or cash.

Cash donations are used to buy more clothing.

“We can get up in the morning and it can feel like it’s not going so well, but when we do something for someone else, that will bring us some joy and peace and make us feel pretty good about ourselves,” said Kraus.

They’re planning on taking the bags to The Gate, an outreach ministry of the Gateway Covenant Church, and also to Our House, an adult shelter affiliated with the YWCA.

“I’m just really proud of the Carlton students and their families for their generosity and sense of heart that they’ve shown in terms of taking care of people that don’t have things that we take for granted,” said Kraus, adding it shows the community can work together to improve.

The second initiative was spearheaded by Lori Amy, a teacher in Independent Studies for outside learners.

She’s collecting winter clothing, boots, non-perishable food items and hygiene products for students within Carlton.

“We have students in all kinds of living situations and financially, a lot of families struggle,” she said.

She got the idea from a janitor at a school in the United States who supported homeless students.

Amy said she’s amazed at how successful it’s been.

“We went from an empty storage closet to a room that is just bursting at the seams and I need more shelves and clothing racks for it.”

Lastly, Jocelyn Laewetz is making winter clothing with her students in sewing club and distributing them to the community.