Warm-A-Soul, Change a Life!
For nine years, GNS families have been showing their kindness and generosity in support of the Extreme Outreach Society's Warm-A-Soul Stocking Campaign. This year is no different, and until December 4 students are encouraged to fill as many stockings as they can with gifts and treats, which will then be given to those in need at local men's and women's shelters and distributed to children at the annual Christmas lunch.
Loriann Delorme, Parents' Auxiliary Council (PAC) Secretary, has been spearheading the campaign since 2013. In that time, she's had the fortune of working with many GNS parents to help others.
"I feel fortunate that I am able to help, and it's wonderful to be able to encourage others to do so too," said Loriann. "Having seen the smiles on the children's faces when they receive a stocking is uplifting, and equally so is the gratitude we receive from the parents. For anyone who struggles, the holidays can be particularly difficult; it's heartwarming to know that we can help... even just a little."
The Extreme Outreach Society (EOS) started the Warm-A-Soul stocking campaign with the mission of giving children living in poverty the chance to experience the magic of Christmas. EOS focuses primarily on children who have been subjected to poverty, but also supports individuals who live in shelters, detox, and on the streets. These individuals have many needs, and would not receive any gifts at all without the generous donations from the Warm-A-Soul Campaign.
"I'm always excited when I hear GNS is doing Warm-A-Soul again—without this group I would not meet my goal for the hundreds of kids that receive these stockings," said Cliff Power, founder of the Extreme Outreach Society. "You may find it hard to believe, but the joy that stockings can bring someone is at times life changing."
"I met Cliff during a very difficult time in my life," one mother said in a testimonial. "My son has a rare medical condition that affects his lungs, heart, nervous and GI system. The Christmas party has given us something to look forward to, and provided an opportunity to celebrate Christmas with so much joy and connection. My son is so excited to receive a stocking."
"Last year a girl started crying when I gave her a stocking," said a member of the EOS team. "It was amazing to see her so excited. Then she said 'this is the first Christmas Stocking I've ever received.' Wow! I can't wait to give her another amazing stocking."
All of the families who attend the Extreme Outreach holiday dinner and receive a stocking know that many of the stockings are generously donated by the GNS community. "They appreciate the time, thoughtfulness and care that we have put into preparing these stockings," said Loriann.
Cliff says that the EOS sends hundreds of stockings across Canada, including the far North. "One of the things I hear most from them is, 'Why does someone so far away care about us? I tell them it's because we love them. Thank you GNS—you're making a difference!"
How to Participate
Students who wish to participate are asked to please bring home a stocking from their homeform and fill it with new, unwrapped, age-appropriate items. As soon as it is filled, please return your stockings to the collection bins in classrooms or one of the four collection bins in the Senior School office.
If you would like to help but don't have time to gather stocking items, you can make a donation by writing a cheque payable to the Extreme Outreach Society. Please drop cheques off to your campus office.
Extreme Outreach will issue tax receipts for any cheques or cash over $30.00. Please be sure your mailing address is included on your cheque/envelope.
The deadline for all returned stockings or donations is December 4 for the Middle and Senior Schools and December 6 for the Junior School.
Each stocking has a letter in it with a few guidelines to follow. Please be sure to take this letter out of the stocking before you fill it and return it.
If your child has come home with a stocking and you have decided not to join in on this initiative this year, not to worry: we only ask that your child please return the empty stocking to their classroom.