Students provide special merry Christmas treats to Canadian troops

Assiginack Public School Grade 2/3 teacher Heather Jefkins and her class along with BMO Manager Kim Cooper packed eight boxes of treats which are being sent to Canadian Armed Forces members serving in Europe and Middle East this Christmas season.

MANITOWANING—On Thursday, November 23, students from Assiginack Public School’s Grade 2/3 class packed boxes full of treats for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members deployed overseas for the 2017 holiday season.

The Grade 2/3 students have been involved in Operation Flat Stanley, which is a penpal program that pairs each student with 23 CAF members, 19 who are serving across Canada, as well as two serving with a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Middle East, and another two serving with NATO in Europe.

Thanks to general donations from the staff and students of Assiginack Public School, the Manitowaning branch of BMO Bank of Montreal and Lyons Memorial United Church United Church Women in Gore Bay, eight boxes of treats are on their way to the Flat Stanley handlers who are deployed this year, explained Grade 2/3 teacher Heather Jefkins. The Operation Flat Stanley troop support boxes contain Tim Horton’s coffee, maple syrup, cookies, candy and other treats, bringing these soldiers a “taste of home” as they serve Canada in locations far from home this holiday season. BMO manager Kim Cooper and volunteer Laurie Addison helped students sort and pack the boxes full of treats.

Operation Troop Support is part of the Grade 2/3 class’s Operation Flat Stanley program, which teaches students practical literacy skills through letter writing activities, as well as lessons in history and geography as the Flat Stanley handlers send letters and pictures from locations across Canada and the world. The OP Troop Support boxes contain not only treats, but hand drawn messages of support and bests wishes for the Stanley handlers working far away from family and friends.

Ms. Jefkins pointed out communities across Manitoulin Island have supported Operation Troop Support since 2006, shipping more than 300 “treat boxes” to Canadians serving in Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Middle East and Europe. Each year boxes labeled “Merry Christmas from Manitoulin” bring smiles and treats to Canadian soldiers who have chosen to serve their country in an attempt to bring “Peace on Earth” to other parts of the world.