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Students gather donations for Turkey and Syria earthquake victims

earthquake%20relief-PR.jpgLeadership students from École Panorama Ridge Secondary are raising money to support victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake, just one of the district's schools working to provide earthquake relief.

Surrey and White Rock students from schools across the district are raising money to provide humanitarian aid to victims of last month’s Turkey-Syria earthquake.

Students from École Panorama Ridge Secondary, Clayton Heights Secondary, Johnston Heights Secondary and White Rock Elementary, among others, are collecting donations through bake sales and money drives for earthquake relief. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6 in Turkey’s Kahramanmaraş Province was the strongest to occur in the country since 1939 and caused widespread damage and thousands of fatalities.

At École Panorama Ridge, more than 50 leadership students are collecting cash donations and raising money through a pizza fundraiser to put towards much-needed supplies. They’ve currently raised $300 towards their goal of collecting at least $1,000, with the fundraiser’s pizza and pop provided at-cost to the classes by the Newton Save-On-Foods and Freshslice Pizza.

“We were discussing what we wanted to do to raise awareness, and really quickly, the earthquake was brought up by one of our peers,” said Grade 11 student Imaan Bhatia. “We were all pretty passionate about making a difference outside of our community. We did some research and found they were looking for more specific items like first aid kits, diapers and clothing.”

“We’ve done pizza fundraisers in the past and they’ve always worked really well,” said classmate Kara Brar. “With the money, we’re planning on buying first aid supplies and then sending that out through a charitable organization.”

Meanwhile at Clayton Heights Secondary, Project Equal, one of the school’s largest service clubs, chose to raise money for earthquake relief with its monthly bake sale, collecting about $400 to support people in Turkey and Syria.

“The students pick different causes to put their efforts towards, and this month, it was quite obvious where the money was going to go to, seeing what was happening in Turkey and Syria,” said teacher Sarah Daintrey. “The kids were like, ‘We’ve got to do something.’”

Twenty-five students baked goods while another five sold them at the school. Daintrey said the students are now deciding which charities would be best to distribute the funds they raised.

“I teach financial literacy with charity donations so we only want to give to an organization that has a less than 20% administrative fee,” she said. “They’re doing some research on organizations right now.”

Similarly, the Johnston Heights Secondary Muslim Student Association also had a craft and bake sale, and collected donations of food, clothing, baby supplies, blankets, sleeping bags, hygiene products, flashlights and batteries. White Rock Elementary student leaders also made cookies to sell for earthquake relief.

“We really wanted to raise awareness within our school,” said Bhatia. “A lot of people in the class want to help and make a difference, and I think this is exactly what we signed up for.

“It’s really exciting that we’re able to make a difference when we live in Canada and they live in Syria and Turkey, and we’re still able to raise money to try to help them, even if it’s in a smaller way.”

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