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View From SD73: Being grateful for our communities

An unprecedented flood that had displaced many families from Merritt to Kamloops was an opportunity for me to learn firsthand about the good nature of so many people in our Kamloops-Thompson communities
Heather Grieve column head

In my first few weeks as Kamloops-Thompson school district board of education chair, I feel immense gratitude for the outpouring of generous donations from our parents, students, staff and community members.

An unprecedented flood that had displaced many families from Merritt to Kamloops was an opportunity for me to learn firsthand about the good nature of so many people in our Kamloops-Thompson communities who stepped up immediately to learn about the needs of these families — and to help.

On Nov. 19, assistant superintendent Vessy Mochikas posted on social media an invitation for families who had been impacted by the floods to come to our @kool location at 1770 Springview Pl.

The same day, superintendent Rhonda Nixon created a video in hopes of reaching even more people. By Nov. 20, more than 100 school district staff and retirees, as well as friends and family of staff, had brought and then organized food, clothing, supplies, toiletries, games, puzzles and books.

The gym was full and well organized and it even had a toy section, with stuffies positioned on plush children’s chairs.

More than 80 families from Merritt came to the @kool location over that weekend. I saw firsthand the generosity of the staff and the community in the time I was there.

In the days that followed, I heard stories from our staff about the families who were supported and the impact the connections made have had on all who contributed.

I was delighted to learn about another 100 families from Merritt who had learned about this location. Our school administrators organized food drives and our community members continued to donate.

Thank you to school district staff and our District Parent Advisory Council, who have invested countless hours in organizing and sharing their time to continue to greet these families and welcome them into our district community.

It has been quite the year for so many families who are still grappling with struggles related to the pandemic and the fire season — and now floods. I am in awe of the generosity of spirit and actions of so many people that it would be impossible to name all of them.

As board chair, I am truly thankful for each and every one of you. You make a difference in the lives of our children and now in the lives of those in our neighbouring communities.

Thank you for everything you do and continue to do to give back and to make Kamloops-Thompson a community known for generosity, kindness and love.

On the school district website at sd73.bc.ca, a parent resource page has been set up for evacuees, along with a dedicated email — merrittsupports@sd73.bc.ca — to connect them with the supports they need.

Heather Grieve is chair of the Kamloops-Thompson board of education. School district columns appear monthly in KTW and online at kamloopsthisweek.com. Grieve can be reached by email at hgrieve@sd73.bc.ca.