The Farm To School fundraising program at Stonybrook Middle School sold between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of Manitoba-grown vegetables.
Interim Principal Rita Rebizant says this is the sixth year the school has participated in the fundraiser and each year about 25% of the bundles bought are donated to Southeast Helping Hands and Soup's On. Rebizant notes people in the community seem to appreciate the option, even if they don't need the vegetables they have the ability to donate them to organizations who can use them for those less fortunate.
Student Anya says, "it's a great fundraiser because we get to donate vegetables to Helping Hands and we get to raise money for our school to have a new scoreboard, for field trips, and a new fridge."
Students helped package each of the approximate 700 bags filled with produce and then hand them out Tuesday and Wednesday between 1:30 and 3:30 and then 4:30 and 7. "It's fun because you fundraise and at the same time you give people vegetables at a cheap price," notes student Akshar.
Chinweoke Asagwara is the program coordinator for the Farm to School Healthy Choice fundraiser and says the fundraiser is great for teaching students where vegetables come from and what variety is grown in Manitoba. Asagwara notes the fundraiser turns a 50% profit for the school participating. This means Stonybrook Middle School raised between $10,000 and $15,000.
Rebizant says the funds will be used towards a new scoreboard, updating the canteen, and subsidizing field trip costs for students who otherwise may not be able to participate.
"We're the only ones in Steinbach that do this particular fundraiser," she notes. "It's always around this time of the year and the kids love it. It becomes a full community thing because, not only are they out in the community selling the vegetables, but they are the ones participating in getting the bags sorted, they're here distributing when people come to pick them up."
Student Spencer adds, "it's just really fun. We're going to help out our school and it's just fun being out here and loading it up."
Tess Doerksen and Helen Wiebe were two women who came to pick up their bundles on Tuesday. Doerksen says she bought produce for herself and also to donate. She notes vegetables are always good to have in the house, as well, it's going for a good cause to help the school. Wiebe says the student who came to their door did a great job at explaining what the fundraiser was about adding vegetables are always needed so it's a good fundraiser to support all around.