Backpack Blessings enrich inner-city Christmas

Leduc school leads by example when it comes to Christmas cheer

Through the kindness of generous Notre Dame School students and the school community, as well as the Edmonton Bissell Centre, inner-city children in Edmonton will receive Christmas cheer this year.

Notre Dame Grade 5 teacher Alain Briand says the school’s annual Backpack Blessing program was once again a success. “It went awesome.”

Last year the students brought in 33 backpacks stuffed with presents for the children of Edmonton and Briand says this year the number rose to more than 40.

Briand explains, years ago the school held the Operation Christmas Child each year but a staff member with a connection to Pastor Rick Chapman who works with the Bissell Centre thought the Backpack Blessings would be something else the school would enjoy.

“It turned out to be a wonderful experience,” said Briand.

Notre Dame also has a social justice club and the students choose what projects to support over the year. Briand says on Dec. 1 the students were already in the library fulfilling Backpack Blessings. “They were busy packing away It’s local, you’re helping kids downtown Edmonton.”

In the past Chapman has visited the school and explained how badly the backpacks are needed and how special they are to the children who may not receive anything else for Christmas.

Briand adds backpacks are better than boxes because they can carry out a use beyond being the wrapping for the presents. “We discovered you can stuff an awful lot into a backpack.”